At 6:15am today, driving in the dark with snow falling steadily on untreated roads was potentially dangerous. It reminded me of my first drive in a heavier, mid-day, unexpected snow, when I was a college freshman. I'd had my license a bit more than a year. Our little American Rambler 330 had a 3-speed manual transmission, shifter on the column. I drove home from class (about ten miles) slowly, shifting between 1st and 2nd gear, mostly in a straight line, while cars around me slipped and slid on both sides of the road. The only full stop I remember was at the left turn into our subdivision. (How many intersections had signals magically turn green?) Our dad was sitting in the living room when I walked in. I was perspiring, shaking with anxiety.
"How was it?" he asked.
"Oh, Daddy! It was awful! Cars were sliding all over the place."
"What did you do?"
"I drove mostly in second gear and stayed in the lane."
"That's exactly what you should do. I'm glad you did, since this was your first time. The next snow will be easier."
I felt a rush of pride at his compliment; then, burst into tears of relief because I hadn't wrecked the car.
Daddy died a few months later. I don't remember the second time I drove in snow, although I remember other surprises in winter weather.
This morning, in the dark, despite the conditions, I was calm~ equally aware of the conditions and the interplay of snow falling into the light, sparkling on the pavement, crunching softly as I steered. While I was concerned that the county was slow to mitigate the situation, I was quietly delighted, at peace, and deeply grateful for being among the first to see its unaffected beauty.
Daddy was right. It's been decades since that first nerve-wracking experience. I remember it as though I just walked through the door of my childhood home. I can almost smell my dad's cigarette against the fresh scent of the cold, snow-fresh air as I stepped inside. One of my long-time friends commented that she is continually amazed that our mind holds all these memories "that vividly come back in such detail by a trigger. Our brains are human computers with no storage limits!"
What strikes me most about the memory is its contrast to my experience this morning: being mindful, calm, aware, and appreciative of beauty in a situation that had the potential to be daunting. No matter the challenge, my confidence level shifts with experience. Clarity is always apparent when I focus. Courage connects when I *feel, *engage, *accept, *respond authentically.
Finest Hour Peer Mentoring and Coaching allows you to trust the wisdom of your experience. We believe in transcending FEAR by honoring your Insights, Discernment, Exploration, Action, & Spirit. Your IDEAS are where we transformation begins.
17 January 2018
(Image via Google)