This image was Ashley’s first time sitting in her beloved comet since her accident that easily could of taken her life 13 months ago. But it didn’t - instead the car protected her. Like a good friend would do, it took the beating for her. Before the accident, even before the Comet came into her life, Ashley was going through a rough patch in her life. Like we all do when we experience pain, we search for joy in any form. In Ashley’s case, she found her therapy in a beautiful blue comet. I'm sure all my gear-head friends know there’s a special bond between human and machine. A car can be far more than just a frame and parts. There's a blood line. There's thought and genius behind it's design. Anything can be a sponge for energy, especially where we allow ourselves to be vulnerable. Memories are created and then absorbed. Her car became her shelter and care-giver. There is a bond of trust that communicates between Ashley and her Blue Comet.
As Ashley opened the garage you could feel a shift in energy. A lot like the feeling when you come home to your dog after being gone for a few hours. There was a clear channel between the two and no one would be able to deny that.
Ashley told me her story over email. She said she was lucky that she somehow she walked away from the wreck with only a few bruises. That ‘somehow’ is something that caught my attention. I asked Ashley what she meant by ‘the car saved her life’ (Read our dialogue below).
It's my opinion when you get into any life threatening situation like Ashley's, you were meant to live or meant to move on. From hearing Ashley's story and seeing there connection - luck had nothing to do with this. Ashley believes the comet saved her. I do too and I believe she was more than lucky. In my opinion, Its easy to credit life to luck when we don't truly understand the circumstance. We may feel gratitude for the second chance at life, but we are never lucky. There is a undeniable design I think we refuse to honor when we claim luck to life or death.
Here's a bit of our conversation.
Ashley: Yes I honestly believe the car did save my life. Although it is twisted up beyond repair, nothing shattered. Somehow the car stayed intact surrounding and protecting me from getting injured something I cannot say would have been the case in modern vehicles. Although there were zero safety features in a 1964 Mercury Comet I always felt safe because I was basically driving a steel boat.
Ashley: The fact that my convertible flipped over and I was able to walk away with a few bruises gave me an entirely renewed perspective on life in general. I was given a second chance. I have tried to take every amazing opportunity that comes my way and worry less about things that are out of my control. Not every day on this earth can be a good one but I've learned that is so important to look for silver linings and find beauty in every situation. Experience, learn and grow. Life is truly a gift and the idea of "what if" can haunt us. The accident, as cliche as it sounds, has taught me to stop holding onto the past and live in the now because we never now when our time will come. I want to believe old Eleanor has a beautiful spirit. The car always had a certain presence, it was truly a show stopper. Maybe is it was the electric blue paint and glowing white interior but it was always noticed. Even now every time I go to see the car I get chills knowing my old friend is watching out for me.
Scott: Can you relate a human-human relationship to human-car relationship?
Ashley: I've been told when you meet your soul mate you just know that is the person you're meant to spend forever with. The day I first saw the Comet I was immediately connected to it. My smile was the biggest, my eyes would shine the brightest and I was the happiest driving that car for five years. Although an object, such as a car, obviously can't return feelings as another person can it did bring out the best version of me as a soul mate would. People find their one person I was lucky to find my car.
Scott: What do you believe your purpose in life is?
Ashley: I believe we are all here for a reason. We all have a purpose. I haven't entirely figured my out but for right now mine is to be a loyal friend, daughter, aunt and sister who always tries to bring light to every situation. Being a gracious honest person has been my purpose. I love to make people smile and bring a little bit of sunshine to their day.
Scott: The car is currently sitting in this garage, why are you keeping it? Do you have plans for it?
Ashley: I'm planning on building a house in the next year. When that time comes I would like to do a beach mural on one of the main walls and mount half the car on it. The other pieces will be made into furniture. In some way the car will always be with me in various art forms and I will never have to say goodbye.
I sat Ashley in her car for the photograph not knowing it was her first time sitting in her car after the accident. That was 13 months ago. Somewhere between the cold metal is a place for Ashley to keep her memories warm. It's important we all find that place. Man and machine aren't so far apart when you truly look at what they are. They are a creative design - like us. They are an example of thought put into action by us. I guess that's why it's so easy to love them.
Stay human. Love the machine.