Saturday, August 11, 2012

"Meant to be"

"If you go into the mountains often enough, you would inevitably encounter a tiger." - ancient Chinese proverb.

"Everything is meant to be." - an oft-heard western saying.

Let me start this story with yesterday. Congrats to Shannon for finally finding a lovely suite in a house surrounded by trees, with a sea view and even a fireplace! We met the nice landlady who used to be a can-can dancer way back when, before she was crippled by a drunk driver. This brought back an old memory of mine, one with a moral, to me anyway, which I'd like to share with you - both the memory and the moral.

In my life I've had quite a few situations in which I escaped with my life unscathed, what with my rather dangerous pursuits including car racing, equestrian sports (show jumping mostly), solo camping in E. Africa, working entire summers in Grizzly country often above the tree line, i.e. with no trees to climb to escape a charging Grizzly, not to mention riding race-worthy sportbikes like my "Black Lightning" which carries the warning, "There are only two kinds of motorcyclists - those who have crashed and those who will crash," to the latter kind I still belong, knock on wood. I have fallen off horses more than once, visited by lions in the middle of the night, had many bear encounters in line of duty, conducted dangerous under-cover operations in both India and Japan, chased on the highway by hunters, and had three facial bones fractured, including a buckled eyes socket, by one of them. I could have been killed, at least had my neck broken, many a time. But my most miraculous escaped-with-my-life event (not the one shown in the pic, but just as amazing) occurred when I was driving a plain old truck at no more than 30 mph.

It was the summer of 1969, when I was a university senior, aged 23, working as a crew chief in geophysical survey in the mountainous British Columbian interior. On this day, I was driving a crew cab with my 3-man crew on a winding one-lane road atop a 200' cliff above Ootsa Lake to my left. I happened to be following a van which was crawling along at the speed limit. It was raining and the road was slick, so I stayed at a respectful distance behind it. Suddenly, around a tight right-hand curve, without signalling or gradual slowing, the van came to a near stop to enter a driveway. I braked to avoid rear-ending it, but in doing so, the tires lost traction and the truck began spinning clockwise, and skidded straight for the cliff.

I then knew what some famous last words would have been. One guy screamed, "NOOOO!" Another shouted, "OH MY GOD!" And the third uttered a notorious four-letter word, and not in a whisper either. As for me, I was too busy trying to correct the situation to say anything. But it was hopeless. The truck skidded off the road, heading straight for free-fall, to be followed a few seconds latter with a bone shattering crash.

But then, either "God" planted a very fast growing tree right below the edge of the cliff, or there was one there all along, one with a trunk diameter no bigger than two feet. The truck went over the cliff and slammed against it, coming to an abrupt halt, balanced precariously with its left side resting on the leaning trunk of the tree at a 45 degree angle to the vertical.

I looked out - down - the driver-side window, and all I could see were the lake-side rocks the equivalent of 20-storeys below. The boys, mostly freshmen, aged 18 or 19, were freaking out, trying to scramble over each other to get out of the truck which was shifting with every move. I calmed myself instantly, and told them to stay still, then directed them, one at a time, to make a gingerly exit, while trying to keep the centre of gravity of the truck in line with the tree trunk. I exited last through the passenger door, and scrambled the five feet or so back up on to the road.

After my heart rate had slowed somewhat, I looked along the length of the cliff, and there was not a tree in sight except the one against which the truck was still resting.

I was too shaken up to be philosophical at that point, but some time in the course of that day, I told myself that I survived this incident for a reason, that I was meant for some kind of destiny - which still did not reveal itself for yet another decade.

Then, in 1979, I went solo camping in East Africa for two months, and began conceiving the concept of Integrative Transcendence, the central tenet of what I later named the Omniscientific Cosmology which still later I wrote into my look titled "OMNI-SCIENCE and the Human Destiny", which I published in 2003. By then, I had been a full time ARA for 8 years.

Anthony Marr, Founder and President
Heal Our Planet Earth (HOPE)
Global Anti-Hunting Coalition (GAHC)

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