In the blink of an eye
Posted on 7 Jul ’13 by Earl
Daring the rain to catch us, Bonnie and I took the convertible out for a run to a nearby bistro for lunch yesterday (where these photos were taken.)
Our route back passed by Cooleemee River Park (BullHole), NC, a location where I’ve often shot and posted photos of the dam, river and waterfalls — some of which you can find here and here. It was pure chance we decided to stop to see how high the water levels were after weeks of scattered thunderstorms. The water was high but not as high as I’ve seen it before.
Upon arriving riverside we found there were already a number of people about — a friendly stranger shared a kind warning with us that the rocks around the water’s edge were very slick. We only stayed perhaps 15-20 minutes watching with disbelief some of the antics as people played in the powerfully moving water, including sliding down some of the rocked slopes the water was overflowing. I even captured a few minutes of video of this activity on my iPhone because it was so unbelievable.
As we begin walking back to our car we met the same friendly stranger, who reports say was looking after his sons as they fished. When passing he shared a thought along with a shake of his head, “These people are crazy.” We agreed.
This morning we learned 20 minutes after we left the park this friendly stranger jumped into the water to save someone’s dog being carried away by the current. He was pulled under and drowned. It took hours to find his body.
He no doubt didn’t consider the danger when he jumped in — it was probably more instinctual than a conscious decision — a dog was in trouble. Bonnie and I both feel somewhat haunted by what we can only frame as a sense of unfairness, this situation was created by others’ “craziness.”
I’ll never be able to visit this park again without thinking of this man — his impact on us has extended well beyond the few seconds we shared. I hope if there’s any type of reward after death for those good things you do in life that trying to save a helpless creature earns a lot of bonus points.
Note: The dog was rescued by others who also entered the river.