Moose body

Signal and noise

I thought I was going to die as I drove into the moose; that moment as control is compressed into brakes and steering-wheel knuckles when there’s nothing to do except stamp down and wait.

When we stopped, I got out of the car. I was cheerfully alive and I didn’t look back at the moose lying dead on the road’s centre line. Neither did I watch as they used hunting knives to cut it up for the freezer.

I gripped the door on the tow truck as we sped along the swingy dark road home. Too fast. Too normal.

In the days that followed, I would burst into tears without knowing why. Then my therapist friend made me relive the accident: the 10 seconds I thought I was going to die.

And there it was: a weight on my chest I hadn’t noticed. A horror that wanted out of its rib-barred jail – but I’d given it no key.

I said hello to the feeling and I cried no more.

There are times, if the mind-chatter stops and I notice a bird’s song or the gurgle of water, when there’s another feeling in my chest. This swelling around my heart tells me I’m present, that I’m here with what is.

My mindfulness training has taught me the body knows stuff, that it holds the truths our minds deny. If we can listen, we can learn.

This is one of series of emails and cartoons on the stuff of life. Get them in your own inbox at