Superstition: Belief in the Age of Science

Superstition: Belief in the Age of Science

Superstition: Belief in the Age of Science

Superstition: Belief in the Age of Science

Excerpt

Almost a year had passed since the tree had fallen, but it was not hard to find. A large red oak almost three feet in diameter, its roots had pulled out of the soft ground on the steep slope of the ravine after a week of heavy rain. It hit the ground with such impact that the heavy trunk snapped in two. The broken end of the trunk still pointed straight down the slope, reaching almost to the edge of the trail. The rest had been cut up and carted off to clear the trail. I had imagined that seeing the tree might evoke some memory of that day, but there was nothing. It was just a fallen tree, like all the other fallen trees that slowly rot on the forest floor.

The doctors had given me the green light to try jogging, but it seemed much harder here than on a treadmill in the National Rehabilitation Center. I was still panting when two elderly men walked briskly down the trail. Seeing me looking at the fallen tree, they paused. “You know,” one of them said, “when that tree fell, it fell on a guy.”

“Yeah,” I said, “I know. I was the guy.” They looked stunned. “We never knew what had happened to you,” the other said, his voice breaking and his eyes filling with tears, “I have prayed for you every night since.”

It was my first contact with anyone who had been a witness to what took place that day. David O'Connor and Shaun McCarty are Catholic priests. Former faculty in a nearby seminary, they would meet almost every day to walk this peaceful trail beside Northwest Branch, once a millstream, both for the exercise and to share each other's company. Two years earlier, on a Sunday afternoon, they were on their walk when the tree fell.

They were not the first to find me; an undocumented Salvadoran immigrant had already called 911 on his cell phone. Not knowing the extent of my injuries, the three of them were . . .

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.