This morning while being dragged round the park by Alfie I looked for my favourite little family. I don't know their name; all I know is the mother gave birth to four little ones a few weeks ago. The mother has webbed feet, a long white neck and looks like a cross between a goose and a duck - for all I know she could be neither
I've tried taking pictures, but they waddle too fast for my camera, the mother like all mothers is protective of her little ones and keeps humans and the other wildlife away by lowering her head and releasing a powerful no-nonsense hiss (I remember my mum having a similar tactic). A few days ago looking for my goose/duck family I felt helpless when I spotted only three little ones, what had happened to the chick? A cat, fox, the other birds, it was such a shame because they had grown beyond the fluffy stage and were just beginning to widen their existence and toddle from under the mother's soft downy tummy. Perhaps that was the problem.
This morning there were two chicks - I felt impotent.
My mind still with the missing chicks I left the park and started crossing the road. A shrill metal on metal crunch shattered the early morning quiet. A young woman – someone’s daughter - lay in the middle of the road. The driver of the small (thank God) car climbed out and ran to her side. I froze, staring at the bike's spinning back wheel. The young woman didn’t make a noise, she didn’t cry out, she just lay there leg trapped beneath the bike - inches from the car tyres.
The young women of course had no safety helmet; and had been cycling on the wrong side of the road. The car driver – no older than the cyclist had been about to pull out of a back street on to a main road. Neither had seen the other, neither had been looking. But it was the woman who apologised. Why is it always women who apologise?
Within seconds other cars began to pull over, people started dragging the young women to her feet, dusting her down and almost pushing her on her way. She looked embarrassed – I don’t know why.
Inside my still frozen body I was screaming – ‘don’t move her’.
As a qualified first aider I know how to administer first aid, how to look for broken bones and signs of concussion or shock. In the UK I would have been the first by her side, fending off well-meaning passers-by while ringing 999. In the Netherlands I don’t even know the emergency number and rarely carry my phone anyway. But worse, how could I communicate with a road accident victim.
My ‘Het spijt me, Ik spreek Nederlands niet zo goed’ (I'm sorry, I speak Dutch not so well) didn’t feel quite so cute today.
I did nothing – I felt impotent.
The same way as I feel being hundreds of miles from people I love at home as they face yet more difficult challenges.
|And then there were three|