Moose Road, a Canadian Tragedy
by Audrey Austin
SEVEN DWELL NEAR
“Tell me a story, tell me a story, tell me a story and remember what you said.” Ever since that terrible day of the tragic accident each of the residents who live by my side has a tale to tell. Yes, everyone has a story and each story teller speaks his own truth. What I do find curious is the fact that no two stories are alike. Each is unique in its own way. I am of the opinion that truth is multi-sided and speaks from many hearts.
A very long time ago I heard someone repeat the words of Winston Churchill who is purported to have said, “The truth is incontrovertible. Malice may attack it, ignorance may deride it, but in the end, there it is.” Yes, indeed, there it is. Truth is multi-sided and it dares to speak from many hearts.
I have been around for a very long time. I existed in this very location even before man decided to give me a name. I guess that makes me old and, that being the case, I confess I am very old. I was here before any person chose this place to build a home. I have always thought I possessed a firm grasp on reality but since the day of the tragedy I am questioning for the first time the meaning and the impact of truth. I have more questions than answers. Is it possible that truth is, indeed, no more than one’s personal perception?
Each individual’s truth, until shared, is locked in a sacred space in one’s memory. Memory does have its share of weakness. It can be faulty. As weeks turn into months memory is often tested. “Tell me a story and remember what you said.”
I find it very interesting that the residents of the seven farms impacted by the tragedy each retain a different personal memory of the accident and its aftermath. Although I am well aware that it would not occur to any ordinary human that an old long-travelled country road could possibly have the capacity to remember, I can assure you that I do. Yes, indeed, I do have a memory. Even though I am very old it remains a good one. I do remember well.
Some thoughts give me reason to smile while other memories I would prefer to forget. I have learned that the more painful memories are the most stubborn; the least likely to be forgotten and the most likely to be remembered. Even when a human believes he has managed to bury a painful memory he has not. That remembrance will pop up like a jack-in-the-box. It will present itself at the most odd and unexpected of times and sometimes even in the form of a recurrent dream.
Of course, I am not a human. I can assure you that I am a no nonsense road; plain, practical and from my very first appearance on earth many generations ago I have made it my focused mission to do my duty and fulfill my purpose as I see fit. I have always taken great pride in my existence and to this very day I do my best to serve those who choose to travel upon my surface.
Unlike humans who are, I have learned, sometimes very superficial creatures, I am not shallow. I don’t blame the travelers for being unable to see beneath my surface. But I assure you I am not just the visible thin layer of gravel you might observe at first glance. I do have substance.
Yes, I am old now. I have been here in this spot in northern Ontario, Canada for many interesting and enduring lifetimes. Although I am a road less travelled I am still in pretty good shape. I expect I’ll be here for a few more generations. I can see no good reason why I should not continue to be here. I have never existed anywhere else on this earth and this is my home.
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