Thinking of Accidents

This morning I’m reading from a book of poetry by Peter Everwine titled, from the meadow. The following lines are from the poem, “Accident.”

The trick is to risk collision,/then step back at the last moment:/that ringing in your ears/might be construed as the rush of stars.

I found Peter Everwine’s work by accident. I read one of his poems in an email I receive every week or so with American poetry and ordered the book. Recognizing his voice in that one poem I read in an email was like a “ringing” that said, this one. Get this one. By the miracle of Internet search, I found his address and will write him a thank you note. He’s retired from teaching at Fresno State.

I’ve been thinking of accidents lately. Two weeks ago, a lady in the Whole Foods parking lot backed into me as I was passing and caused some damage to the passenger side door. Not bad and no one was hurt, annoying but not drastic. This week I took the car into the collision center to be repaired and they gave me a rental 2010 Camry. Nice car and all, but not mine.

I’ve been concerned all week about accidents in an unfamiliar car that wasn’t mine. I took Cliff’s Honda to school because the rental doesn’t have school parking stickers, so again I was in an unfamiliar car – at night – thinking about accidents. I want MY Camry back. I want to feel safe in my car again. 

And yet, an accident isn’t necessarily bad – a collision might be – but accidents come in all shapes and sizes. Finding Peter Everwine’s work was an accident that’s brought joy and the sound of rushing stars.

If we get in the habit of closing ourselves off to any accident, we miss the small beauty right in front of us; pretty soon, the stars disappear. That’s when we get blind-sided by collisions.

12 thoughts on “Thinking of Accidents

  1. Love this piece. With all the “collisions” in my life, beauty is on the other side. It is so nice to put the sadness away – in my life the “the collisions”, and look at the all the beauty and the unknown to come in front of me! Thanks Janet ~

  2. Accidents – usually we think of accidents as bad things. Yet, as you state, that is not always the case.

    But, are all accidents in fact accidents? The ancients wrote of “fates” and their works. Sometimes they included predestination especially in literary works.

    But what about God’s plan and Karma? What role do they play in what we call “accidents?”


  3. Thank you! A lovely image of the rushing stars ringing in our ears.
    A year ago, Sept. 11, 2009, my Toyota was totaled in a collision, and I was emotionally rattled–not attending to the rushing star sounds, at all–but, help showed up, I calmed down, and now, everyday I enjoy driving the “new” car that came out of that experience. I must listen more carefully for the rush of stars–please remind me when I forget.

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