Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Hoo Hoo

I have the craziest adventures in my car. Ready for this one? Here goes.

*insert dramatic music here*

So there I was, driving along. Minding my own business. Actually, I was pretty focused on an audio lecture on the book of Deuteronomy. (Sounds boring, but it was actually quite interesting.) My eyes were diligently watching the road in front of me. I’m going at a healthy pace. And then…

I notice something out of the corner of my eye. It’s large, brown, and flying to the side of me. No wait, it’s getting closer. Hey….WHACK!!!

Next thing I know, my passenger side mirror is hanging at a very precarious angle…and most of the mirror part is missing. So my brain starts processing the past few seconds and I realize – I’ve just been attacked by an owl.

What would possess a bird to fly diagonally across a busy highway and gain on a car going along at 70 mph? I wasn’t the only one on the road. It had to have been hunting something. Bet it never thought it would be eating car for dinner.

My mirror was hanging on, but slipping gradually lower, so I knew I had to stop. I waited for the next welcome center. (Telling my mirror the whole time, “You’re not allowed to fall off.”) When I was able to stop and look at the damage, discovered the only thing holding the mirror to my car was the cording that allows me to reposition the mirror. *insert sound effects here… zzzt zzzzt zzzzt*

The owl had ripped the bolts out, cracked the front part of the mirror, and taken out most of the reflective part of the mirror. He also left me a tuft of feathers so that I can actually prove that I’m not crazy. There *was* a bird who attacked my car.

So I walk into the welcome center and ask, “Do you guys have any tape?” The 17 year old attendant at the snack center replies, “I have scotch tape.” She also halfheartedly lifts the dispenser to show off her supply. I tell her what happened, and after she picks her jaw up off the ground points me to the gas station.

I drive over, walk in, and say, “I have a crazy question. Do you have any duct tape, because I was just hit by an owl.” Without missing a beat, the nice gas-station man replies, “Well, I don’t know about duct tape, but we have owl tape right over there.” LOL! I found myself a kindred spirit. I dramatically reenact my story, and he shares one of his own. He used to do construction work, and when he arrived at one house, he heard rustling on the inside. As he was approaching the back door (the big sliding glass kind), a large snowy owl tried to escape from inside the house, flew right at his head, and hit the glass door full force. He said the owl had probably been trapped in for a day or too and was super hungry. He also said the he spent several minutes laughing at the poor thing.

After sufficiently bonding with a stranger over our owl escapades, I take my gas-station quality duct tape and attempt to secure my mirror back to the side of my car. It didn’t work that wonderfully, but it would have to do. Just for grins, I tried to reposition the mirror…and discovered the cords still work! So I found a way to use the little bit of mirror on the very bottom right to help me see what’s going on outside the passenger side of my car.

Back on the road. After finishing the Deuteronomy lecture, I started listening to Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone…halfway laughing every time owls were mentioned in the early chapters. Thankfully, my car, my self, and my mirror all safely arrived at my destination. Once I arrived, I found some nice, sturdy, black duct tape for a more permanent (yet still temporary) solution.

And there you have it. I’m a survivor. I don’t know if I can claim as much for the poor owl.

I’m trying to think of a moral of the story here. Uhhh…
* Life comes at you fast?
* Never underestimate the power of duct tape?
* I don’t give a hoot?
* You never know 'hoo' you’ll run into?

I’m open to suggestions….

Saturday, January 24, 2009

So fresh and so clean clean!

I love to clean. I love the light scent that cleaners leave. I love the lines left by the vacuum on the carpet. I love a surface that is just the right amount of cluttered. I love “spring cleaning”…whenever the mood strikes. Blame it on my inner melancholy, but after a cleaning rampage I always feel a bit more clear and ready to tackle the challenges of every day life.

So this morning, I’m rearranging furniture in my room. Just to shake things up. After all, I’m always up for a new twist on things…a new adventure. Even if that adventure is something as ordinary as looking out a different window while I sit and type.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Looking Forward

A brief explanation for my relative blogging silence of late: I’ve been cross-stitching! Being the slightly over-ambitious person I am, I decided just before Thanksgiving that I would try to complete an 11x14 project as a Christmas present. ….yeah…. ok stop laughing and shaking your head! I thought I could do it. So I gave it a good honest try. I finally finished it on Monday. I’m a few weeks late. But have a look – I think it was worth the wait. It’s at the framer’s now so it can proudly hang in my friend’s home.

Therefore we do not lose heart…. inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. (2 Corinthians 4:16-18)

I suppose you could label this a new-year’s themed post. After all, January is certainly a good time to pause for a barometer check. A couple weeks ago, I listened to an audio drama based on John Bevere’s book “Driven by Eternity.” It’s a great reminder that we should be long-sighted with our thoughts and actions. Whether the moment we’re living is supremely awesome, or a total bummer…it’s just a moment. I find that to be oddly encouraging.

Because I think it’s important to look forward. It’s easy to get weighted down by things that hurt you or by things wished you’d handled differently. It’s also easy to get stuck in a memory of past glory. Reminiscing is great…but it’s important to keep moving.

Anyone who knows me well knows that I push myself hard. Maybe because I grew up hearing so many stories of people who changed the world. Maybe because I’ve been able to meet real-life dynamos. Who knows why, but I’ve always been wired to go above and beyond. To keep pushing and climbing and reaching.

The challenge I face with myself is to not get discouraged. It’s easy to encourage others that you may never fully see the ripples of influence that you leave. It’s quite another thing to walk it out in your own life. (Advice is always funny that way huh?)

So my resolution this year is to not allow myself to become disheartened. I know what I’m made of and what I’m chasing. I know that I’ll make the most of the opportunities I’m given. And I also know that if I miss a cue, it’s ok. I’ll proudly remember where I’ve come from, and I’ll let all the moments I’ve lived so far be the firm foundation that keeps me on my path.

Great is the road I climb, but the garland offered by an easier effort is not worth the gathering. ~ Propertius

Sunday, January 11, 2009

A Violinist in the Metro

A man sat at a metro station in Washington DC and started to play the violin. It was a cold January morning. He played six Bach pieces for about 45 minutes. During that time, since it was rush hour, it was calculated that thousands of people went through the station, most of them on their way to work.

Three minutes went by and a middle-aged man noticed there was musician playing. He slowed his pace and stopped for a few seconds and then hurried on to meet his schedule.

A minute later, the violinist received his first dollar tip: a woman threw the money in the till and without stopping continued to walk.

A few minutes later, someone leaned against the wall to listen to him, but the man looked at his watch and started to walk again. Clearly he was late for work.

The one who paid the most attention was a 3-year-old boy. His mother tagged him along, hurried but the kid stopped to look at the violinist. Finally the mother pushed hard and the child continued to walk turning his head all the time. This action was repeated by several other children. All the parents, without exception, forced them to move on.

In the 45 minutes the musician played, only 6 people stopped and stayed for a while. About 20 gave him money but continued to walk their normal pace. He collected $32. When he finished playing and silence took over, no one noticed it. No one applauded, nor was there any recognition.

No one knew this but the violinist was Joshua Bell, one of the best musicians in the world. He played one of the most intricate pieces ever written with a violin worth 3.5 million dollars.

Two days before his playing in the subway, Joshua Bell sold out at a theater in Boston and the seats averaged $100.

This is a real story. Joshua Bell playing incognito in the metro station was organized by the Washington Post as part of a social experiment about perception, taste and priorities of people.

The outlines were: in a commonplace environment at an inappropriate hour:
Do we perceive beauty?
Do we stop to appreciate it?
Do we recognize the talent in an unexpected context?

One of the possible conclusions from this experience could be:

If we do not have a moment to stop and listen to one of the best musicians in the world playing the best music ever written, how many other things are we missing?