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On Being in the Storm

(Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Left Sioux Falls and drove into the winter storm on Thursday. The purpose, to attend the wedding of my niece in Chicago. As the weather worsened, I was forced to slow down. Began seeing cars and trucks in the ditches. Highway patrol cars and towing vehicles everywhere. I continued driving.

There is a false sense of security when you are in the cocoon of your car. You see storm dangers and results around you, but you are somehow not a part of it.

My trip continued with more vehicles in the ditch. I “know”  the drivers of the vehicles in the ditch are not as good behind the wheel as me. Some force deep within says, “keep going”…………..and so I did.

I arrived in La Crosse  early Thursday night. Thought I would drive another 70 or 80 miles. About 20 miles east of La Crosse, saw even more cars and trucks in ditches. Started thinking about the darkness and the cold, and how I didn’t want to literally be “out in the storm,”  if somebody’s bad driving forced me into the ditch.

So I pulled over in Sparta, Wisconsin and spent the very cold, stormy, and dangerous night, safe and warm at the Country Inn and Suites.  Friday morning the sun was out, and the wind had gone down. The journey continued. In the clear sky of the day, and the now clear interstate roads, the vehicles in the ditches took on another meaning. Why did the drivers of those vehicles keep going when the storm made driving dangerous? What was their rush? How many people were put in harms way, because of the need to be rescued?

Mother Nature was sending signals to stop. I thought how selfish those folks were, how foolish their choices….then it hit me. I had made the same choice. Kept driving when I should have stopped.  I didn’t slide into the ditch. Was it due to my skillful driving or luck? My “need” to keep going could have made me part of the huge problem public safety workers had that night. How foolish and selfish of me.

The storm dissipated in twelve hours. In that time frame the wind and snow stopped, crews were able to clear the roads, and traffic was able to travel at normal speeds, with no danger.

Storms are mother nature’s way of telling us to slow down, and maybe stop for a while. Take a break. Relax. I did and I am glad. I am safe and didn’t put anyone else in danger. And the time “I lost” was not lost at all. It was invested in a good book, good meal, and good conversation.

I made it to Chicago, in plenty of time. The wedding starts in a few hours.

Can’t wait for the next storm and the chance to stop.



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