It came in so quick. Probably didn’t help that I’d left late, which is rare for me. Everyone had been driving at standard, rush hour speeds, and then brake lights lit up the pre-dawn morning, as the roads went from merely wet to snow covered and slick.
I look out my windshield and the snow is quite beautiful.
The white, probably 80’s vintage 280Z is clearly in a hurry and rides the bumper of the only slightly newer Ford Bronco. I turn away, not to feel the anxiety of a rear end that hasn’t happened yet. My hands are gripped too tight on the wheel. I focus on relaxing them. I have that odd displaced feeling of not being wholly in myself. Sort of half there and half outside the vehicle trying to project my senses forward.
The snow falls in big flakes I want to touch. So peaceful – snow and all this darkness. Mother Nature’s crazy womb.
There is no reason for concern. This is a good car with all wheel drive, new tires and anti-lock brakes. I’ve got this and yet I find my hand rubbing my neck. A Pathfinder rushes past, only to come to an even faster halt up ahead with a slide. Feeling his movements sets my nerves on edge.
The evergreens off the interstate are already covered in winter white in a matter of minutes. In my mind I can feel the cool wind standing in front of them. They wave in the winds coming on this storm front. I wonder if they are beckening me out of the car.
A Toyote slides sideways two cars up and all of us brake. My breath catches and I hear my inner mantra on over drive, “I’m okay. I’m okay.” I see another slide a bit in my rearview mirror.
As we enter a smaller valley the wind is cut off and the snow falls so gently here. It’s magic as I look off from the road.
In pioneer days we’d all stay in and wait till it’s over. How advanced we’ve become, eh? The Toyote recovers sort of and begins moving again. He is our lesson and we all move at a crawl. I find myself estimating the pace to the time I’ll arrive at work. I’ll be late. Stomach tightens a bit. I wish the car behind me wasn’t so close.
The snow falls gently.
Relaxing my hands again from the wheel I take in a few deep yogic breaths. Look how smoothly this car moves. This should be my focus, not the car’s hazard lights off to the side of the road. The woman is talking frantically to someone on her cell. My heart beats slightly faster as I remember what that feels like.
Rooftops glisten in all that white. Drab winter grays and browns are gone. A winter wonderland in less than ten minutes. I crack the window a bit to feel the cold air. It’s fresh and clears my mind a bit. Bits of snow ping my face and somewhere in me I know I am not separate from this beauty.
I try music, but it is too distracting at the moment. Three cars have come to a head in an effort to change lanes. No one has hit the other, but they are trying to determine who will go first in this darkness and snow. One of them struggles to find any lane. We all hold back to let the scene sort itself out.
The snow falls gently. I watch it melt on my windshield. What it would be like to stand in the middle of an open field and let it melt over me?
It’s all in timing and perspective, isn’t it? Seven at night and I could be in that field. Seven in the morning and I’m gripping the wheel. Not going to work and it’s beautiful. Getting to work it’s an obstacle to navigate. A different day or a different hour and everything shifts. How many things are like that in my life, I wonder? Just a different day or a different hour. A slight turn of my mind from the obstacles in front of me to the mystery and beauty all around me. I wonder…
The snow falls gently.
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