Friday, December 19, 2008

Thorns and Roses

Wild Plants and Wooly Bears

Snow and cold, then rain and warm weather and then snow and cold again. Roller coaster weather conditions such as we have experienced in Maine over the last few weeks make for difficult driving and also, tough walking. In fact, the path leading from my house to the woodshed has melted and thawed countless times as of late. Now, the ice being coated with frost crystals and a light dusting of snow makes for treacherous walking.

I pondered a recent phone conversation on my way out for an armload of firewood. “If you’re careful,” my friend said, “You’ll never fall. But if your mind wanders, then you are in trouble.” Just thinking about that situation made my mind wander and I slipped. Instead of falling, I managed to catch myself. Still, the sudden flinging of arms and legs did little to help a sore back.

After regaining my composure, I continued on my way to the woodshed. I recalled, then, an incident from the far past. I was a youngster, and tripped while ice-skating. Joking with buddies, I became distracted and allowed one skate to catch on the other. The fall drove a tooth completely through my lower lip. Ever since then, I have become the proverbial soul of caution when walking on ice or other slippery surfaces.

For me, trouble comes when I’m not aware that the going is slick. A few years ago, I fell on an exposed cedar root. These, when growing above ground, are notoriously slippery. The fall made my feet dart out in front of me and I fell on my back, hurting a kidney. Now, I view every slippery-looking root with a mixture of caution and disdain.

But who can anticipate every danger? That’s not what life is all about anyway. So while I take more than reasonable care, I don’t look for problems either. I shall not allow the thorns to keep me from taking time to smell the roses.

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