It was a dark winter night. Visibility was poor and driving conditions were worse. Heavy rain hid everything in front of me while patches of ice hid everything below me. Without a doubt, it was the worst weather that I encountered during my multi-day, solo, road trip across the country. By the time I reached the mountain, I had not seen a person or vehicle in more than an hour. I considered the possibility that I was lost and hundreds of miles off course.
As I drove up the mountain, snow replaced the rain that I had driven through earlier. I thought about the gas station that I passed a few miles back, and wondered how a gas station in the middle of nowhere could afford to stay in business. At that moment, my tires lost their traction on the icy road; my car began a rapid, uncontrollable, diagonal slide toward the bottom of the mountain; and my eyes began seeing images that I knew could not possibly exist. Then, everything went dark as my eyes abruptly transitioned from seeing strange images to seeing nothing. A few seconds later, my car slammed loudly into something, and the uncontrollable decent stopped abruptly. I was fairly certain that the truck, tree, yeti, or guard rail that stopped my car’s downhill slide displayed a deep and prominent imprint of my car’s rear bumper.
My first instinct was to get out of the car, inspect the damage, and retrieve emergency supplies from the trunk. Thankfully, I quickly realized that walking on a slippery road, during a blizzard, was not the best idea for a person who could see nothing. I stayed in the car, unable to see, unable to concentrate, and unable to think. Concern about being buried under tons of snow until the spring thaw consumed my mind. Nobody knew where I was. I reached for the place where my cell phone was prior to the downhill slide, but the phone was no longer there. Shortly after I found my phone, I realized that the phone was searching for a cell tower that it would never find. During the next few seconds, my thoughts shifted from concern, to panic, and then to an overwhelming sense of doom.
When my eyesight “returned” a few minutes later, I turned my car around, briefly looked for a really irritated yeti, and hastily drove down the mountain to the gas station that I passed earlier.
What happened next will be the subject of the post titled “In the Beginning Part II.”
Thanks to Rubber Dragon for providing the gas station picture via Flickr.