(A brief warning, this is not a happy story. However, I present it as an illustration of what sometimes occurs in a spiritual/magical life. I felt it was important to do so. There are things that occur and you are left with only a sense that “something” occurred but given no hard data, no magical entrance of a spirit teacher to explain it all out for you. Oftentimes, these are sad things. You are left with only enough information to make out a dim sense of what it “might” have been about. This is one such story.)
Occasionally, my intuition will kick in and give a very loud warning that is very hard to ignore. It is hard to describe. When it occurs in my life now it is an overwhelming tightness in my shoulders and a mounting sense of dread. It happens very quickly and I get information on what to do just as fast. I jokingly refer to it as my “spider sense.”
The first time I realized I had it was when I was very young and we were taking my father to the airport for a flight. We were in a hurry as he was late. It manifested differently then. I remember being very nervous, distraught and did not want to get into the car. I was also very nauseous. Being, I think, 7 years old, I voiced my concern but it was misinterpreted by my parents as a small boy not wanting his father to leave on a long trip. On the way there, we were nearly in a fatal accident when a semi-truck flipped over an overhead overpass and landed directly in front of us! We were unhurt but ever since that day it drove into me the fact that intuition is a very real thing and the importance of paying attention to it no matter what.
Whenever I am driving, I will sometimes feel a strong jolt of information that says, in short, “Do not continue the way you are going. Take a different route.” I always hear it but there have been times in the past where I did not listen and wish I had. To be fair, there have been a few times when nothing dangerous occurred. However, there has ALWAYS been something occur along the route I had been warned not to go whether that be a near-miss from a running cat, a herd of deer running across the road or a drunken walker stumbling along the side of the road. Even then, I wonder what would have occurred if I had not been on edge while driving that route and ignoring my intuition. As I grew older I stopped being stubborn about it and simply turned when my intuition told me to turn.
A few nights ago, I was driving my family home from a wonderful Mother’s Day visit. It was dark, rainy and we were on the highway.
For some reason, a discussion was started about hitting animals on the road. My wife had hit a dog many years ago and it had been a tragic event. I had stated that I was very lucky that I had never hit a dog but the most troubling thing I had hit was a raccoon a long time ago. To lighten the mood just a bit, I told a story of when, as a young driver, I had hit an unlucky chicken on a back road in the country. Though sad and disturbing, the cloud of feathers had been enormous!
Having children that are within a year of driving themselves if they wish, my wife and I also talked about the golden rule of “Not Swerving!” and that we had friends who had sustained very serious injuries because they had swerved to miss a small animal and lost control and hit a tree, rolled into a ditch, or Higher Power forbid, struck another car. Though horrible to deal with, it was crucial to not swerve at speed to avoid an animal.
There was a section of the highway we would need to travel to get back home quickly that is under major construction. As I approached the first exit into our hometown that magical intuition kicked me and said, “Do not go further on the highway. Turn here and take the back way home.”
My first thought was frustration. I was tired. I wanted to be home. Going the back way could add another fifteen minutes to our trip home. I then quickly weighed that it was dark, it was rainy and, most importantly, I had my entire family with me! What was I thinking?
I apologized to my family very quickly and made the turn at the light. There were cries of “What are you doing, Dad?” and a few from my wife as well. I simply stated, “No, I’m being told not to stay on the highway. We are taking the back way.” Luckily, I have a very understanding wife and kids who are very accepting of their weird father. Besides, they knew the tone of my voice.
I was quiet as I drove down the road and wondered what might have been waiting for us on the highway. We were on a simple two lane city street now and although not the speed of the highway we were going about 40 MPH. The rain and wind had increased. Given the weather, I was glad to be off the highway. We would be home shortly.
The raccoon moving in from the left and crossing through the opposite lane came out of nowhere. It was moving in a path that would put it right in front of us. The raccoon was acting frightened and in retrospect I wonder if it had already been hit or had a close call. Oncoming traffic locked me into the lane. Without swerving, I tapped the brakes to slow. I edged to the right just enough put as much distance as I could. With luck, we would miss it with the tires and the car was high enough to simply roll over it without hitting it. My wife tightened beside me but said nothing. For a second, I thought we were fine but the raccoon didn’t stop and I felt the sickening thud of wheel impact. Keeping control, I glanced back and in the rear-view mirror saw all I needed to see from the lights of the car behind us. It was over. The weather was increasing, there was no easy turn around and it was late. Perhaps I chose poorly but I chose to keep going.
My kids, sleepy and out of it in the back seat, never knew it had occurred and my wife and I finished the trip home in silence. I was shaken and trying to understand the full synchronicity of the course of events while at the same time trying to continue driving. I had been led this way. If I had not come this way I would have never hit the raccoon. I had never been led a certain direction, made a particular choice from intuition and had something like this occur! What was going on?
We live closer than I would like to the highway under construction. Unpacking the car, I heard the first siren heading to the highway. Then, another and another. I never knew what happened out there as there was no report in the paper. However, there were a lot of sirens on the highway near the area we would have been traveling through. Could it be that we dodged something far worse? At the very least been detained in a traffic jam in the construction? I doubt I will ever know. All I knew was that I was tired and shaken. I was sad. My wife suggested that perhaps it all needed to go down that way for a reason, that something needed sacrificed? I agreed it was a possibility. More importantly, she hugged me and thanked me for keeping the family safe.
I wrapped up the night with a quiet raccoon-spirit offering on the back porch in the rain and consisting of soda pop, sugary cereal, parched corn, sweetgrass, a bit of chocolate and some of my finest alcohol. I expressed my sorrow, shed tears and, if it had been a sacrifice, my deepest thanks. I did not sleep until very late and I did not sleep well.
In the days that have followed I’m still not sure what exactly to make of it all, of the timing. As any long time reader of this blog understands, I do not take synchronicity lightly. I have thought numerous times to consult the cards or to dowse out an answer. Each time I have the deep feeling it is not the correct course of action. I do not know why.
So, for now, I just sit with it, meditate on it. I know better than to begin doubting my intuition. I will admit that I did doubt it while working through that evening. Yet, I know what it feels like when it signals like it did. It was not wrong. It has never been wrong. I also know, in reviewing the event, any other move to avoid the animal would have put us deeply in harm’s way. There was no other choice. I just don’t understand why it all occurred the way it did.
In writing the post and telling the story I wonder if perhaps that is the lesson, the answer? Sometimes you have to simply accept that although you can feel the presence of intuition, spirit, and/or magic and that “something” occurred you will never know the answer and were never meant to know? Or, is that just a cope out?
Is the lesson, then, to be able to be ok with it? To be able to accept not knowing?
Perhaps that is the lesson of faith, then?