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  • Writer's pictureRobert Adams

Waters Way

Updated: Jan 18

IT HAS TAKEN ME A GOOD MONTH to get my arms around my near-death experience (NDE) that took place during a 75-mile drive through flooded waters along the coastline of South Carolina.

It occurred in mid-December during a very dark and haunting six-hour period that was brought on by high tides, record downpours, and poor judgment. Any adult knows that you do not drive on unfamiliar backroads into the rising water. Timeout at a McDonald’s parking lot for the evening would have been just fine but this writer’s insistence on getting to Charleston overrode my more rational judgment.

It is now mid-January and I’m back in northern Michigan and doing much better after experiencing stress-free holidays. I’m now dealing with the psychological aftermath brought forth by the rather harrowing experience. The bottom line - I’m not dead and neither is my dear Nancy. I’m dealing with a post-event reaction of guilt and anger and at the same time being thankful for our ultimate safety after the waters receded through the nighttime drive.

As often happens, I am writing about the mishap with the understanding that it helps me with a release of emotions and will lead to insights as I move on knowing there are lessons from the trauma. Had the worst-case scenario taken place we would have drowned and been swept away on River Road and Route 17 outside of Georgetown. The authorities would have pieced together a chilling account of my poor judgment with an over-reliance on iPhone GPS directions. I’ve also concluded that powerful forces came together to save both of our hides. I believe in guardian angels - they have come to my rescue several times in my life, not just recently in South Carolina.

I note this experience has similarities to other mishaps that have played out in my life. Water has played into most of my life’s near-death experiences. Once as a young teenager it involved a capsized sailboat that found me fully clothed under a very wet and heavy main sail. Later in my adult life an overloaded seaplane on Isle Royale met up with towering evergreen branches that almost ended our lift into the wild blue yonder.

Recalling these lifetime traumatic issues has me mindful of my good luck.

My cautionary mindset for this coming summer will be to heed the warning of “rip tides” that are prevalent along Lake Michigan’s shorelines. I just don’t want my guardian angels taking the day off should I find myself in such a compromising situation.

Respect for water’s power is a better thought than out-and-out fear. I’m doing my best to move the needle just a little to arrive at this far happier place.



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