Have you ever noticed the magic of being lulled into oblivion by a snowstorm? This past weekend we traveled to Idaho for a Jazz festival that our son was participating in. The first day of travel was pleasant. Though snow adorned the hills and valleys, the roads were clear and safe passage was granted.
The following day as we traveled from our hotel to the festival site, the roads were far less forgiving. A semi truck jack-knifed on an exit ramp was an eerie reminder of what can happen during travel through a snowstorm. It was however, the journey home the next day that made me question one’s ability to be mindful while driving.
White was everywhere. In the air, on the hills, covering the highway. The white out conditions were mesmerizing at best and treacherous at worst. I will admit, I am a nervous passenger by nature. Yet even I found myself being sucked into the vacuum that was the lull of the snowstorm.
Being mindful is often thought of as taking time throughout the day to reflect, be still, and be present. As we crept our way along the highway like a trail of ants destined for the same ant hill, I was struck by the notion of how thoughts, goals, and potential deadlines might be the motivating force for others traveling the same roads.
It was all too common to see a vehicle whip by at a speed not suitable for the weather. Others simply dodged into breaks in traffic. They secured their place in the long line of vehicles, but not without the risk of a potential collision. Mindfulness, it seemed, was missing from this situation.
A dear friend of mine, only weeks ago lost the love of her life when tragedy struck in another winter weather accident. Accident is a word we use often and perhaps the meaning of it diminishes with its use. Accidents surely do happen, but the result of them can be devastating in nature. They have the power to alter a person’s life forever. Accidents are preventable and prevention of them should be viewed with a seriousness that beckons us to be mindful in everyday life situations.
It is fresh in my mind that saying “sorry” after an accident does little for those left behind to grieve the loss of their loved ones. I urge you to be proactive. Be mindful. Remain present. Be completely in the moment, only focusing on the task before you. Driving a vehicle is a privilege, not a right. It would do us well as a society to remember this point every time we find ourselves behind the wheel.
There may still be another month or more of winter road conditions to contend with this season. Mindfulness is a gift you give, not only to yourself, but also to those around you. Do your part to be mindful in the snowstorms of life, both on the road and otherwise. Be safe and take care of each other out there.