Spinning your wheels is not a hard thing to do in the great Province of Alberta this time of year! Ice, while smooth and gleaming, is disruptive and dangerous to those of us who venture out on our snowy roads in less than stellar conditions. With the slip-sliding away, you can visibly see fear in people’s eyes as they brace for the bump or crash. Frustration, fear, stuck, ruts, going nowhere – all words that come complete with mental imagery when you connect them to snow and ice.
Spin spin spin. What next? Will someone stop to help? Who will show a kindness to ensure the safety of those around them? Usually the best comes out in people when they know it could so easily be them.
True story. I was driving from Edmonton to Lloydminster a few years ago with kids in tow and the roads were so bad by the time I’d gotten about 1/3 of the way that we were travelling at about 40 km/hr. Slow, right? Especially when the speed limit is 110 km/hr. It was sheer ice. I contemplated turning around but I would have faced more of the same on the return trip, and by that time I’d likely be through the worst of it and almost at my destination if I just kept going (not necessarily the smartest or safest thought process I’ve ever had). I passed an SUV in the ditch but didn’t see anyone in the vehicle so kept driving. A little further up the highway I saw a guy walking on the side of the road so, figuring he was from the solitary SUV I’d seen in the ditch I stopped to see if he needed a ride. Some would call me crazy for taking a chance like that with kids in my car, but I simply could not leave him stranded in such severe circumstances. I was right – he was a passenger from the SUV, the owner had hitchhiked the other direction back to the city. This guy needed to get to Lloyd by a certain time or he’d miss his work bus headed North and would lose his job. He was from Southern Saskatchewan and was also the brother to a guy married to my cousin. How freaky is that?! We had great conversation, the trip went faster and he was able to get to his bus on time. The wheels that spun him into the ditch created an opportunity for connection and companionship in a crazy, whacked out storm.
On the flip side, have you ever paused to consider the kind of ‘spinning your wheels’ that will get you somewhere? It dawned on me as I was thinking about our whole Albertan way of winter living, that there’s another way to look at this common phrase. If you ride a bicycle, spinning your wheels gets you somewhere and gives you the benefit of exercise! When you’re at the gym, many pieces of equipment have wheels that essentially lead to a healthier way of living. Mobility is extended to those needing it via wheelchairs. Many a beautiful sweater has been created on – you guessed it – a spinning wheel!! A train, the gears in a manufacturing plant, even the wheels that churn in our brains – can all be considered the kind of ‘spinning your wheels’ that drive change, improvement, advancement. Not all spinning is detrimental.
If 2012 felt a little spinny – stuck and going nowhere fast, let’s see what we can do to change it up a bit and find ways to spin out of control in a positive, ‘let’s do this’ way, so that in 12 months’ time we can reflect on today and realize that spinning our wheels really did get us somewhere! Who’s in?
Think About It…
Times might be tough, your head and thoughts might be spinning, but I find it’s physically impossible to do that spiral thing when your mind is focused on giving and creating opportunity. ~ Daryn Kagan