The roar of the engine drowned the silent agony of metal bending and failing.
Pulling on a rope with all its weight and power, the heavy machine skidded in the mud but found traction and slowly continued backwards. At the end of the rope, the focal point for a massive amount of energy, was a large slaughtered boar.
Life and death never stray far from a farm with animals, but today their presence was stronger than usual.
When the metal of the meat hook finally surrendered and lost its grip, all the applied power was instantly transformed into kinetic energy. Ten inches of steel was catapulted at the speed of a bullet from a gun. Its direction firmly towards the front of the machine where the rope had been attached. Due to the slight elevation, it’s trajectory was higher.
I had accidentally fired a gun that was aimed at my head.
There is no visual memory of the metal coming for me. It was moving too fast to be registered. But I do remember the sound.
Metal screaming at a very high pitch. A sound of pain and hurt. It did not come from me.
Had the meat hook hit at any other angle than it did, or 1/10th of an inch further to the right, I would have been killed instantly. Instead, it left a big dent in the massive metal frame where I was sitting, just next to my right eye. After that, it went flying 100 feet to the right — it had hit the inside of the protective frame.
Standing 30 feet away, in the other direction, was my son.
Before the sound had faded away, two thoughts rushed through my head: Thank God it didn’t hit my son, and that he didn’t have to witness his father’s death in such a violent accident.
It took all the mental strength I had to carry on with the work, but I would not have done it any other way. Respect for life demanded that I took care of the slaughtered boar who had just died in order to feed us. Somehow the event became even more intense through the way life and death interwove.
Was it one of the worst experiences of my life? No, it was one of the best. It was an awakening.
Besides the obvious (such as not doing stupid things like attaching steel to something elastic and pulling it with a big machine) the takeaway from this near death experience is how precious life is. Doing the right thing, living in the presence, taking care of people we love. Celebrating life.
We all need awakenings every now and then, although I sincerely hope that more gentle ways will work too.
Seize the day, my friends. It’s wonderful to be alive!
Thank you for reading,
Bjorn “The Mayor” Karlsson