Last week's freak accident on the Brandywine Creek is a reminder that people often overlook the simple fragility of life and that sometimes things just happen.Scott Kendall, 44, from Kennett Township was killed when a tree fell on him and his three companions while they were kayaking July 22.
The Brandywine is a popular attraction for kayakers, canoeists and people who go tubing. Every sunny weekend in spring and summer, hundreds of paddlers and waders can be seen enjoying the cool, gently flowing water of the creek.
It's flat water, nothing rough and tumble, nothing that would cause anyone - not even a novice - much concern for any problem other than sunburn.
The Young Friends of the Brandywine hold their annual Tip-a-Canoe every July because it's such an easy stretch of water. No one would ever think that a tree would fall into the creek, let alone onto a paddler.
More people get hit by lightning as evidenced this past weekend when several people were struck in Cape May, NJ.
There are some things people don't think about and perhaps shouldn't. Who would be able to get out of bed in the morning being fearful of the chance freak accident? Who could even contemplate the myriad possibilities?
But the accident does remind us that there is a basic risk to being alive and that no matter what, we are all mortal and will someday die.
We can make every effort to keep ourselves safe. People are taught to wear seatbelts in cars, where helmets while riding on two wheelers and to wear flotation devices while on the water. But none of that will change the fact that man is mortal.
Yet, the accident also teaches us that there's no point in hiding from that simple and to live fully also means to live with an open heart, caring for others and letting them care for us in return. That it's the part between birth and death that counts, that what we do with our years - for ourselves and for others - is more important that the number of those years.