On Saturday, Matt and I were driving home from Natchitoches when we pulled off for gas at the I-49 and I-10 crossing. Just as we began to leave the onramp to get onto I-10 East, a pickup towing a trailer whizzed by in the left lane. In the moment it passed, a four-wheeler flew off the trailer and into our lane. It bounced twice in the road, and fell into the ditch, coming maybe 10 feet from the car in front of us.

“Matt! Look at that!” I yelled. He gasped. We pulled over onto the shoulder, behind the other car. A few seconds later, after the lane cleared, we got back onto the road. The two middle-aged women in the other car still sat on the shoulder. Their car wasn’t hit by the flying motorcycle; I imagine they were still in shock. Only one second, and maybe not even that many, kept them from being crushed by this motorcycle. And that means Matt and me were only two seconds, maybe three, from the same thing happening.

I wonder how often that sort of thing happens to us unawares — near-misses that we don’t see. The shark that glides silently past our legs as we play with our children in the surf.