During last year’s winter break, I chose to drive to Florida accompanied by my trusty companion Toby. Toby is a Rottweiler/German Shepherd blend who wandered onto my Florida property 12 years ago. He chose me, so how could I refuse? He was a gangly, unkempt pasture dog at 10 months old. Now he is a mature 13 year-old with a slightly grey muzzle. This trip was our journey back to his original digs.
The trip down was treacherous, storms and tornado warnings making the darkness and solitude a little darker and lonelier. Toby had a nervous stomach when the heavy rain clattered off the car roof in South Carolina. I made a series of executive decisions as to whether I would get “gassed out” by leaving the windows closed, or deal with rain coming in sideways. I alternated and we survived. Poor Toby… (He refused to take his turn driving 🙂
As we moved down the coast the temperature rose steadily and by the time we arrived at our Florida digs we were in lovely 80 degree weather… the illusion of forever summer. The sun is always shining somewhere. It’s always summer somewhere. But in this world of opposites, it’s always winter somewhere as well.
In 2001 we had the Twin Towers disaster and there was dark despair in our area. Now the dark disaster visited France and we have empathy for their sense of helplessness, a shadow on our sense of well-being, but not a complete obliteration of our ability to feel safe and sound in America. Feelings and experiences are universal and not subjective. What you and I are feeling isn’t specific to us, we’re simply taking our turn having the full range of human experience. The attempt to escape the experiences that are unpleasant, fearful and difficult is the root of futile addiction. It doesn’t work…because it’s always summer somewhere and winter somewhere else. When it’s our turn for winter, we can either embrace the season or race around trying to have forever summer. It’s sort of like plastic surgery to look younger. Just an illusion.
As we drove back up the coast the temperatures steadily fell. Our experience of opposites was dramatic. There was suddenly snow on the ground in Alexandria, Virginia. Toby tiptoed on the cold earth having just rolled on the warm, fragrant pastures a day before. He didn’t complain, he simply accepted the changes as part of life in a dog suit. My New Year’s Resolution was to do the same in my human suit… no complaining, just accepting all of what is and leaning into whatever presents itself as an opportunity.
Maybe you can join me…