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June 13, 2008

Lucky Day

Photo: Photo taken 2008/06/10 at 14:45 [CIMG8017]
Photo: Photo taken 2008/06/10 at 14:44 [CIMG8015]
Photo: Photo taken 2008/06/10 at 14:59 [CIMG8020]
Photo: Photo taken 2008/06/10 at 15:38 [CIMG8021]
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Photo: Photo taken 2008/06/10 at 15:40 [CIMG8031]
Photo: Photo taken 2008/06/10 at 18:52 [CIMG8051]
Photo: Photo taken 2008/06/10 at 18:52 [CIMG8052]
Photo: Photo taken 2008/06/10 at 18:52 [CIMG8049]
Photo: Photo taken 2008/06/10 at 18:53 [CIMG8053]
I've always felt that life's served me a lucky platter. Yesterday was one such day. I've never come so close to death, and yet felt so alive.

I sat outside at the Second Cup coffee shop on St-John's in Pointe-Claire under a blasting hot sun. Suddenly a storm presented. Bright light faded to brooding darkness. The air pressure sank and the winds came. I quickly packed up my laptop and headed to the car to avoid the coming rain. A bolt of lightning struck a few hundred meters away near the Fairview Shopping Center, announcing the arrival of the near-instant storm. Happy to have beat the rain, I hopped in our new Mazda 3 Hatchback – which we've had for 6 days – and started the engine. Then, an enormous BANG! Instinctively I ducked. A fraction of a second later, another even louder BANG! as the roof of the car smashed in. I reopened the door and ran – a witness said they'd never seen anyone move so fast – and saw a huge branch more than half a meter in diameter from an old tree laying on the car. I was ok. Some blood dripped from cuts on my arms, I was covered in tiny pieces of glass and had a bloody lip. But I was basically unharmed.

Lightning struck the tree. The first bang was the sonic boom of the thunder a few meters away. The second was the tree destroying the car. Had I parked one foot closer to the curb, had the tree fallen two degrees to the left, had I not bent over… Well – let's just say I wouldn't be here to tell the tale. Every spot in the car except where I was sitting was crushed to mid-torso. My head would have been in my stomach. I am a very, very lucky man.

But wait, there's more.

A half hour earlier and separately, a freakishly large German Shepherd dog ran ferociously towards Joanne as she rollerbladed. Expecting the attack, she slid foot-first, baseball style towards the dog. The oversized dog pounced on her, paws on her torso and lunged for the kill. As the teeth approached, in timing that is just as incredible, its owner threw the dog off her. She picked the grass out of her wheels and went on her way, until, oddly, a bird attacked her head. Twice.

Perhaps best of all, my sister Jessica, who's had a complicated pregnancy that forced her into bed rest for the last 18 weeks – the last 7 or 8 of which were spent in the hospital – gave birth after just 28 of the normally 40 weeks to the newest member of the family: Samantha Hope Plamondon. Samantha's yet undeveloped lungs let out their first cry. Relieved parents did likewise. Doctors say she's a fighter. She came out fists first, above her head. I'd say she's a member of the lucky day club.

As I sat eating dinner peacefully reflecting on how different the day could have gone, I was again reminded of the temporality of our time and that any day could be your last.

Live richly, pursue what feels great and don't let yourself be blown around by the unimportant. And give someone you love a hug for no reason.

June 12, 2008

Back in Montreal

During the most recent stint of our travels, we've had a tremendous set of experiences throughout the Caribbean, Asia, Australia and the South Pacific. We're back in Montreal for the summer as we think about our next ambitions. The warmth of family surrounds us and we're soaking it in.

Posts to come from our road trip down the east and south coasts of Australia, as well as our incredible experience in Tahiti.