I am the one who lived through each of the experiences in these 7 chapters, thus far, and none of them got as close to me, or touched me as deeply as this one. It had the perfect blend of elements. I hope I can get part of it across to you. Certainly there was a message for me in it, and if so, all I can say is that it must have been, "You can't die until God's purpose is fulfilled in your life!"
When we lived 'across the river', we heated the cabin with wood, and one night I went out to get some firewood for the stove. Something I did routinely. Now, how could you possibly have a highlight experience doing that? Element #1-Boring routine!
Well, there was no wood cut up, so I had to cut some. Over in the corner of the yard, I had a bunch of long rails, probably about 30 feet long, that I had taken off of a log corral, and saved them for firewood. Since we get deep snow, I had them standing on end with the tops leaning in the branches of a big old Poplar tree. Now if you just think a little bit, you can probably guess what happens. I foresaw it before it happened, and that is one of the elements, a three stooges type incident.
Element #2-Pitch Darkness. We had no electricity, and out here the nights can be very dark. I held my flashlight in one hand and holding one of the long poles, I moved it around trying to work it loose from the branches of the Poplar tree so I could push it over. The branches kept snagging it, making it difficult to get loose, and in the process I was moving the other poles also. I clearly told myself to watch that I didn't dislodge another one so that it would fall when I wasn't expecting it. Element #3-I told myself exactly what would happen! These poles were almost more like small logs, and they were very long. However, the small ends were at the top, and they were so long that there was a lot of spring to them. Element #4-Fine Tuning of the Physics of the Situation.
I actually saw another one of the poles become somewhat dislodged and in a much more vertical position than looked comfortable, but after I got one pushed over, it was hard to work it back into the branches in the dark, and I satisfied myself that it was safe. Element #5-Typical human imagination, comfortably creating it's own perception of reality in the darkness. You know the feeling, 'why let facts interfere?'
The snow was somewhere around two feet deep. I had walked over to the top, or small end of it where I was going to start cutting; of that I am positive. What I'm not sure about is if I had lifted it up and laid it on top of the snow, which I must have done. I had my saw in hand and I was all bent over to make my first cut at the end of the pole, and the blade of my saw was just inches from the wood. Element #6 Precision timing within hundreds of a second.
You know what happens next. The other pole that was more dangerously balanced than I was willing to admit was now making its silent decent; any last scraping of branches as it let loose, being hid in the noise of my chain saw. My head was bent over facing down to the snow, and it made contact, perfectly centered on the back of my head with element #7-Precision accuracy.
The springiness of the long pole absorbed so much of the impact, that it saved my skull from being split, but the energy absorbed by that spring action was released like a rubber band then to drive my face very deep down into the snow producing element #8-The Humour of Physics!
I don't think I was really knocked out, but at any rate, the cold snow in my face probably had the effect of reviving me, but all that was lost in the shock of what I saw next that was to make this the experience that got my attention more than any other.
When I pulled my head out of the snow there was the big hole in the snow where my little head had gone down. These large, near log like poles, had been held in place on the corral posts by log spikes that were about a foot long, and impossible to pull out, so I had left them in the poles. One of these huge spikes was protruding out of the bottom of the pole, straight down, along the edge of the hole that had been my head. I didn't think to take time to measure the exact distance, and it doesn't matter if it was a quarter of an inch, or even two inches away, because it was right there, that close to nailing my head to the ground. Element #9-You can't die until God's purpose is fulfilled in your life, but certainly not from the lack of opportunity.
I have meditated on what would have happened had my head been very slightly to the left. Karen would have noticed that I had not brought the wood in, as the stove got cooler, and would have tried to imagine what I could possibly be doing. She probably noticed that I had not dressed for a prolong stay outside, and would have been expecting me in a matter of moments. So, at some point, eventually, would have made the trip out to look, and probably without a flashlight, as I may have had the only one that could be found. Element #10-