Sunday, December 12, 2010

Ahh Hah!

Last weekend, I had an epiphany. As you know, one man's epiphany is another man's "well-duh!", and mine was no exception. Doubtless, many of you will be thinking, "well duh!" once you hear it. Nonetheless, my epiphany has been absolutely life changing, or at least season changing.

Like most epiphanies, my moment of enlightenment was simply the tipping point, the last straw in a succession of many, the tiny drop of evidence that rolled off the roof and into the barrel causing it to burst at the seems spilling insight in all directions.

My journey to enlightenment began on Thanksgiving. The temperature had dropped into the lower thirties (Fahrenheit) and we were climbing into the car to drive to Boston. As I walked outside, I noticed this sensation in my toes, I looked down at my sandle-clad feet and thought, "Hmmm... perhaps it's getting too cold to be wearing sandals?" I walked back into the house, grabbed a pair of Ecco's and threw them into the back of the car, just in case.

When we got home that night, they were still in the back of the car, but it dawned on me that they might not be for long. We walked into the house and I decided, "Hmmm... maybe we should turn on the heat tonight?"

The next day, I walked outside and then immediately returned to the house, slipped out of my sandals, donned some wool socks, and then slipped (albeit with a bit more effort) back into them. Emerging again into the crisp morning air, I heard it! Like the cacophony of a thousand drunken, tone-deaf trumpeters performing free-form jazz at Yankee stadium, the heralds of Armageddon had begun to sing! The brazen, bald truth was undeniable! The sounds of an alien fleet landing in the valley below echoed from the mountain walls of Catamount (the ski mountain across the street); they'd begun making snow!

My heart sank, no matter how long I persisted in wearing sandals and shorts, in driving with the windows open, in mowing the lawn, there was little I could do to stave off the inevitable. Winter was indeed coming.

Nonetheless, throughout the following week, I indeed persisted. Scott, the general manager at Carr's Hardware saw me (head and shoulders) walk into the store and then ran over to see. "I thought for sure you'd have put on some shoes by now! At least some long pants."

But no, not me. If I just hold my ground, perhaps winter will pass by unnoticed. Maybe it will give up? But my grip was slipping. It started with the socks, and then with sweat-pants. How far behind could shoes be?

The next week, they cranked up the snow machines early Friday morning and let them run all day... and then all night... and then all the next day. Once the heralds of Armageddon get rolling, they never quit. They sang day and night for the entire week.

I began dreaming about the impending onslaught of snow and ice, about trying to get the plow guys (I call them Jethro and Jeb) to show up before the snow is so deep that they can't make it up the driveway, about calling the tow truck to fish out Scott's or Mark Kaufman's cars (both of whom have nonchalantly headed up the occasional ski slope that leads from the road to our house casually bypassing our cars parked at the bottom). I began wondering whether or not four cords of wood would be enough? I began dreading the inevitable.

The next Saturday, it hit me! The barrel burst, the walls caved, the stupid inside me fled. After eight straight days of heralding, I grabbed Iris by the hand and said, "Let's go to Pittsfield!"

We drove up to North's Services Inc, arriving at a minute before nine, just before they open. A few minutes later, we were talking with Chris North, the owner. I told him that I wanted to purchase an ATV equipped with a snow plow.

Chris showed us what he had available and described some of the various options. As he talked, he handed Iris a catalog of accessories. Iris had been a bit dubious regarding my "plan", but as she thumbed threw the catalog, seeing salt-spreaders and garden rakes and rototillers, she started to get excited. We left with a contract and an agreement to pick up our ATV on Tuesday.

The next day, I put on socks and shoes and a winter jacket. I headed to K-Mart and bought some long underwear and winter overalls. I stopped at the Outfitter store in Great Barrington and picked up some lined jeans, gloves and couple of hats.

Everything changed!

I'd decided not only to accept the inevitable, but to embrace it. My strong powers of denial had given way to a newfound enthusiasm! Better than facing reality, I was loving it, anticipating it like a kid anticipates Christmas. Bring it on! I'm ready.

I began looking out the window, wondering when it would snow, not fearing or dreading it, but instead, wanting it, looking forward to it. I'd head out of the house and then back in again, not because I was cold, but because I was dressed too warmly. As my enthusiasm for winter began permeating my being, I found my attitude towards all things improving. It wasn't as though I'd had a bad attitude, simply a sub-optimal one.

And then I thought: Wow, wherever in life you harbor a negative attitude, whatever the object of it might be, it affects your attitude in all things! Denial can only take you so far. Facing it can get you a bit further. But embracing it! Ahh... therein lies the answer!

Or something like that!

Happy Winter Sunday!


  1. Wouldn't it be wonderful if we could embrace people the same way? Embrace them as an integral part of our life and not as an object or entity that we simply interact with. And by people I do mean ALL people, not just the ones we like or feel comfortable with. Here's wishing that this holiday season we might all realize, if only for a moment, that we are all on a journey...together.

  2. absolutely. It's in the seeing, as in "I see you." The creative volitionability of everything becoming a gift, for each, and for all. blissful warrior ;)


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