Weather, especially bad weather, is a great equaliser. I have been writing this post in my head since the 4th February and must get it down now, however quickly, before even more gets added to it and before I'm through with my today.
On Monday 4th February, after one of our frequent dumps of snow, I went to visit and have lunch with my good friend, Tessa. Right across the road from her house, a young woman had gotten her car stuck in the soft snow at the end of her driveway. Another woman was helping but I felt compelled to help, too. I knocked on Tessa's door and as she was shushing her guide dog, Randi, I dropped my purse off and said I'd be back but I was just going to help this woman. Tessa said she'd come and help too.
The woman's car was deep into the snow and spinning tyres had made the snow solidify around them. From across the street Tessa shouted should she bring a shovel. I said yes. Knowing Tessa could see contrasts, I joked that it was a white car in a snow drift so she felt the bumpers instead and began to dig with her aluminium shovel. And she dug and she dug moving from wheel to wheel. And she dug that car out.
"Oh!" said the young woman. "I think I need an aluminium shovel!"
I suspected what we all needed was some of Tessa's fighting spirit.
I had dug some as well and I guess I made some sort of noise cos Tessa turned to me and asked if I was cold.
"Well, my hands a little," I said, feeling rather wimpy.
"Then we're going inside," she said.
And we left. The older woman's son was coming to help and from the warmth of Tessa's house, I watched him push the car out. We could all get on with our day.
Leaving Tessa's for lunch, we went out the back door. She hadn't swept the snow from the back steps so I stood at the top while she locked her door.
"How many steps do you have here?" I asked Tessa.
"Not sure. Four? Maybe five?" She marched up and over a mountain of snow to let Randi run in the back yard while I navigated the five (I counted--five) steps rather cautiously.
Later that day, Rob got his car stuck in a driveway of an apartment complex on a busy street as he was delivering food. Three people came to push him out. He said it took a while. But then he was on his way home. He stopped by a grocery store and got talking to a man (a stranger) who was standing around waiting for a cab. He'd been waiting for an hour. He, too, had been on his way home when his car had slid off the road into a snow bank and gotten stuck. Rob offered to drive him back to his car (several metres down the road) to pick up his groceries then he drove the man home, many blocks away.
The reciprocity of the day charmed me.
Ten days later, on Valentine's Day, I tried to channel Tessa's fighting spirit when I got my car stuck in snow at the end of our driveway on my way to tai chi. But I was hopelessly stuck and no one passed me--we live on a quiet crescent. Finally a neighbour who i didn't know from way at the end of the street hurried down the road.
"I'm coming to help you!" he called. He told me his wife had driven past and noticed me and told him that an older woman (!) needed help.
" 'Older woman'?" I repeated.
"Well, she didn't get a good look at you," he replied.
He gained more points for his sudden diplomacy. He dug me out and said he would push the car. He also told me that he was waiting for surgery to get a kidney stent taken out. I tried to wrestle my shovel from his hands.
"You shouldn't be doing this!" I said.
He grabbed the shovel back. "No, it's fine. I've been digging us out all this time with all this snow. I feel good now." And he pushed and pushed and pushed and we got the car free. I thanked him, offered him a ride back to his house which he refused and I drove around the block, far too late for tai chi. I stomped inside the house, angry at myself. Then i noticed that the kitchen ceiling had started to leak. I moved furniture (well, that cat tree) away and lined up towels and buckets. And wished Rob was home so I could at least share my frustration with the day.
Finally Rob showed up with an arm full of flowers.
"You might want to just turn around and go back out and not be part of my day!" I told him. "And you shouldn't buy flowers on Valetine's Day!" (it's a marvel the man is still with me!)
"I know," he said, handing them to me.
A week later, they are still beautiful. And the ceiling is still leaking. But it has been threatening to for years, despite us trying to fix everything outside to stop it (this is the second time this has happened) and in a strange way, I find a relief that it is leaking and the waiting for it to happen is over. A friend made me feel better by reminding me, with what she called 'a parallel story', that she had a leak over her bed in her brand newly constructed house several years ago. I remembered it. And I remembered that she dealt with it. And it was fixed. But she reminded me more than anything, without saying so, that it is just a ceiling leak and it can be fixed eventually and that there will be life after and meanwhile there is still life. Sometimes what feels like a huge catastrophe is something that will be dealt with eventually and in the meantime can be tolerated.
Later that day I amazed myself by finding calm and peace by looking at the flowers, burning honeysuckle incense and drinking delicately scented rose tea.
Enjoy these pictures of my beautiful flowers and pictures from a snow sculpture contest down at the Marina which I visited with my friend, Lisa, after lunch on Tuesday.
Cherish the moments.
Welcome! I'm Sue Blott: a writer of all things, a poet at heart, mom, wife, daughter, step-mom, grandma, tea drinker, tai chi-er, mystic, artist, dreamer...and now a blogger! This is my world.