The Night I Woke Up

Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever. — Mahatma Gandhi/Photo: Bob Alexander

by Sandi Martinez

It was dark that night; around 9:30 PM, in 2006.  I was driving back home from a friend’s house to Glorieta, New Mexico, a small village across from Pecos, NM.  There was what looked like a big dog, perhaps a Mastiff that was about to cross I-25, a major intersection.

I slowed down quickly, but not quick enough to realize it wasn’t a Mastiff at all, but a bear.  In my efforts to avoid hitting the bear, I crossed over to my left lane, (fast lane), and ended up hitting her; killing her instantly.  She spun around out of control, my air bag exploded and I couldn’t see where I was going.  I was still driving about 40 mph, and I sensed if I just turned slightly to my left, I would end up on the shoulder; which miraculously, I did.

Interestingly enough, a semi-truck had been driving behind me a few miles or so.  The driver stopped a mile up ahead and came walking toward me.  He was so concerned about me, but I was in shock and could only think about what I had done to the bear.  I told him I was fine; tears fell from my face.  Though it was August, I was shivering, my teeth clattering.  The police were on their way, as was NM Dept. of Game and Fish.  The bear was a female, about 250 lbs, with beautiful brown fur – as far as my condition; no injuries at all, just shaken and in shock for a few days.

Some situations in my life, have led me to experience incredible displays of drama, and confusion.  But at that time in my life, I had been ready for a major change.  Turns out the Universe thought so too, and only dramatic scenes would help me see that it was time.  I call these experiences ‘wake-up’ calls.  The bear woke me up that night.  I’ll always thank her for her sacrifice, and feel that I am now doing something to help other animals, albeit  from a distance.  I feel lucky and honored to help students achieve this wonderful endeavor – becoming certified Animal Acupressure, Canine, and Equine Massage Therapists.  I hope the bear looks down at me with a smile from wherever she is, and has no regrets.  One big step led me to several other smaller, but significant changes that led me to where I am now.

What will it take to make that jump, take that giant step?  Make that wild leap into the unknown?  Hopefully, just a simple, well-educated decision!