Friday, January 31, 2014

Balancing extremes

OMG! Harsh weather conditions; nights and days of single digit temperatures, heavy snowfalls, icy roadways, power outages for tens of thousands everywhere. Out here in the mountains, dwindling wood supplies. A winter so bitter cold we would hope to forget it.  I know I would. What a month January, 2014 has been!

Certainly puts things in perspective, when you think about it. Where is the room for arrogance when students are stuck in schools, cars stranded this way and that for hours as Georgia and Alabama endured this past week?

Out here we’ve gone through so much wood already, we’ve taken to cutting and hauling in logs that are only half dry.  As you can imagine they do not burn well at all.

On the surface, there may not seem to be an easy correlation between these harsh winter days and the profound quote of Helen Keller that Jack, my radio show co-host, brought onto last week’s program. At least, as far as you might be thinking.

Nonetheless, as I braved the single digit temperature outside my door a few days ago, determined to not let my main heat source burn down to its final embers, I was reminded of our last show’s discussion.  I have reflected numerous times since on Helen Keller’s words --

“I long to accomplish a great and noble task, but my chief duty is to accomplish small tasks as if they were great and noble.”  
…noticing, intermittently, the frequency, in day-to-day life, of the seemingly ordinary efforts within which, with a studied eye, one can see merit.

Jack told a wonderfully, heart-warming tale of a personal occurrence of this nature from his own life on our last show, “Honoring the Great and the Small.” I look forward to revisiting it on our next program. His story truly had merit; a small action that was both great and noble within its context.

While not exactly great and noble on any scale, I certainly did feel brave when I set out, no matter how far I needed to go into the woods, to find some kindling the other day. Especially since most everything around here was buried under significant snow and ice. 

Then, today, I pledged to be kind and gentle to me and all others to balance the extreme harshness of the days past. And I did it although I was frequently tempted into overdrive; phone calls and internet distractions and what not, that might have been BIG great and noble.

By day’s end, I felt as if I had balanced off the harshness of this week’s earlier days. That meant something, don’t cha think? Just goes to show you.

Anyway, I sure am glad January ends tonight!

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