I grew up riding dirt bikes. I’d spend hours upon hours in all manner of weather tearing up the ravine behind my parents’ house in Michigan. Because they wanted me to learn the value of work and a dollar, I had to pay for all of my own maintenance and fuel for the bikes, which meant I would sometimes simply run out. And it was those last chugs of gas that seemed to propel my bike faster and with more force than I’d run all day. I can’t tell you why, mechanically, that was the case…but it was.
Today I read a report on the brain activity of dying mice that reminded me of those motorcycle days. According to Neuroscientist Jimo Borjigin, the brains of these mice showed a spike of brain activity immediately after cardiac arrest. As noted in the National Geographic article on the findings, “This suggests that our final journey into permanentunconsciousness may actually involve a brief state of heightenedconsciousness.”
This phenomenon may explain why people who have had brushes with death described seeing bright lights or hyper-real memories of people who had passed before them. Perhaps, like my motorcycles in the mud, our brains eek out that last bit of fuel for one final jump through the ravine. I love the thought of that.