There was a time when I nearly died, when my tenuous grasp on the bushes high up on a Scottish mountain gave way and I fell fifteen feet down onto sharp rocks below. In that astonishing moment when I was falling, in what I thought would be the last seconds of my life, all that passed through my mind was a dull mental image of the scene as it was about to transpire. No years in review; just a dim picture of my unremarkable demise.
A few years earlier, on the fourth of July, I got into an accident merging onto the highway out of San Francisco. The driver in front of me slammed on her breaks, and as I floored my own in horror, I realized that the distance between us was too short. I rammed into her, hard enough to activate my airbags and crack my windshield. When I got out, I looked ahead and saw a four car pile-up. My hands shook uncontrollably. And again, when I had a chance to reflect on what had gone through my head in those seconds before the collision, it was simply a vision of my head plunging into glass.
There will be no time to reflect later. We have to do it now. The other day I printed out this journal, and as I flipped through the pages, my life flashed before my eyes. In 12pt Times, it's thick as a phonebook.