The snow was supposed to hold off, hit someone else. What showed up was no predicted rain shower, and now the town is slushy and surprised.
Required machinery was still being tuned up and serviced, yet to be pulled out of hibernation so we were all left on our own. Normally we would do this with grit and pride, but this caught us unawares, our thick skin not built up after months frolicking in the water and sun. It was as if we were trapped in a snowstorm wearing flip flops. How humiliating.
Unable to avoid the things a normal day requires, you navigate doctor’s office, library, hospital, post office, grocery store, trying to get it all done in one outing.
The unplowed piles between lanes makes your car joggle and pitch, and almost with maniacal glee the piles slide you into curbs and oncoming cars.
While you wait at a turn signal, in the middle of the mundane, a short moment of stillness within the storm,
Witness a miracle.
A person travels along the sloppy sidewalk in a wheelchair, I kid you not. On a day when no one wants to be out in their cars, this person ventures out in an automatic wheelchair. As I sit at the light, running through the list of things still to do, I watch as he nears the corner and much too late I realize there’s little chance of navigating the mess that’s accumulated there.
He sits there, appearing to access the situation, and his dangling feet softly paddle at the edge of sidewalk, as though at the edge of a pool, at the edge of danger, at the edge of the isolation.
Truck stops, not afraid to block traffic.
Two men jump out of truck, one reflecting in fluorescent yellow, one in thick tan Carhart, walk upright on functioning limbs,
Gently so gently lift the stranded dabbler,
As though they’re the biblical friends who lowered the man on the mat through the roof,
They wait, traffic waits, the sky waits, we all wait as the hooded person zips across the street and on with his day.
If we blink we might miss it, this miracle of connectedness.
Peace, just Breathe.
Dreams coming true at the ice rink, our youngest starts her first session of Saturday ice skating lessons. She slowly, almost imperceptibly wiggles across the rink — no actual skating yet — to meet her class while I take my place in the heated stands, my heart aching at the difficulty she faces even getting over to her group.
Class underway, I prepare to read or daydream for 30 minutes, until I see a scene unfolding at the entrance to the rink.
The woman wears a white head scarf and waits at the edge of the ice.
The high school boy, shaggy hair sticking out from under his baseball cap (surely a fashion statement that would accommodate a hockey helmet equally as well), huge hockey gloves on his hands, black and white CCM skates on his practiced feet.
He comes to her and offers his hand, she on hard ground, he on the ice which to him is just as stable but to her is fraught with potential injury.
She takes hold of his armored hand and enters the arena gingerly, testing the conditions, the slip factor, the slide of her skates.
They slowly tour the ice, hand in hand, one shuffling, one gliding, partners in motion.
At an invisible signal they return to the top of the rink. She steps back onto solid ground, releases his mitt — or did he release her? — and and he, upon her safe delivery, turns back to his other hopes and diversions, she to her dreams and responsibilities. The world continues on its path.
The following week they are both back at the same time and place.
There are too many things going wrong, too many offenses, too many breakdowns. People who should know better, seem not to know anything at all. People make offensive statements and are insensitive or calloused to the impact of their words.
It makes the world seem dark and off-kilter, on it’s way to self-inflicted oblivion. It’s too easy to proclaim all hope as lost, our society at an impasse.
Those observations are not wrong. Things are a mess. They’ve always been a mess, but now we’re (un)fortunate enough to have access to ALL the mess ALL the time.
There is always glimmers of hope,
Evidence of love,
Occasions of joy,
And moments of quiet peace.
We just have to remember to zoom in and find them. We have to be willing to go out and create them.