To soothe the little parts of myself that were so shaken up by hitting a deer, I stopped and tried to buy myself a hot chocolate. I say "tried" because when I went to the checkout with my cup overflowing with cocoa piled high with whipped cream, I was told by the cashier, “Don’t worry about it. It’s on the house.” It was just what I needed in that moment.
I’m hoping this event helps me shed more of the worry I carry about what will happen to me in the future. Yes, I hit a deer. Yes, it was traumatic. Yes, my car needs work. Yes, I had to deal with a cop who came to check the car, even though I wanted nothing to do with a man in a cop uniform. As a child I was raped by one of them and they have terrified me ever since. I only got through today’s incident by having a friend talk with me on the phone while the cop was looking at my car. Sadly, I knew that being a white old lady made it less likely that I would have trouble with any cop. This cop was not warm and fuzzy, but he was nice enough.
I am working to recognize, despite the inner turmoil, that I did get past that incident and am now driving on, determined to complete this hike. I will continue to transform traumatic events by focusing on the kind people who help me overcome them.
Mary Anderson is writing a book about her trek along the 3,000-mile Continental Divide Trail, a journey of healing that she began in her sixties. Mary hiked the southern half of the trail in 2020 and is undertaking the northern half in 2021. Read more of Mary's story.
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