Have you ever realized that the choices you make every day – little ones – are more than simple threads that are woven together to make up the fabric of your life? These twistings and turnings of fate direct you onward to an ever-expanding destiny if you let them. That’s where intuition comes in. That’s where your heartfelt desires come into play. That’s where you can end up with devastating results when you override your hunches and dreams with your dictatorial mind.
When you are agenda driven and your “I’ve got to get somewhere and get there fast” mind steps in, it can yank you from the flow of your life into the rapids of unwanted turbulence. And yet – relaxing into yourself and the natural rhythm of your day can have those little choices have a profound impact on the quality of your life.
It was a summertime Sunday, many people’s day of rest, and yet we had things to do – emails to answer and errands to run. So we worked through the morning and early afternoon – stopping only to enjoy some homemade carrot ginger soup and a salad. We kept an eye on the intermittently rainy weather as we had hoped to take our new little 16-foot aluminum boat down to our local river, the Delaware. Our maiden voyage had been a few days before, close to dusk, and the river had been lovely and quiet with lots of unexpected wildlife – a doe daintily sipping at river’s edge, a great blue heron patiently waiting on a branch and a family of bald eagles wheeling overhead, the juvenile not yet old enough to sport the telltale white head and tail. Breathtaking, spectacular, wild and inviting.
During that first trip we discovered that the boat launch near our house was not the best as it had limited parking and the ramp itself ends where the water is very shallow. So we investigated the other possibilities located both upriver and down.
Finally that Sunday we completed our office work and we could head to the river to play. Our start was a bit later in the day than we had anticipated but we were not berating ourselves, or each other, for having an afternoon launch.
On the road from our house, there is a long hill leading down to our town, Milford, and the river. At the bottom of this hill is a simple choice – left or right. Going left would lead us to the boat ramp downriver and to the right, up. Such a little difference – such a big result.
Looking back at it we are grateful that we weren’t rushing that day. We are happy we weren’t lost in a fog of thinking that we were behind, that we had to hurry, that we were late. We weren’t misguided into thinking that we were somehow going about our lives and our day incorrectly. How happy we are that that particular Sunday turned out to be a day of leisure, both at work and at play. We not only worked at a leisurely pace, which actually allowed us to efficiently complete things without stress, but as we turned to play on our new boat, this pace, our rhythm, our simple choices may have saved our lives.
So as we came down the hill that day, we could turn left or right, downriver or up, the shorter route or the somewhat longer one. What was it to be? No choice really. Our hearts already had the answer. We wanted to go upriver, the longer route. Perhaps it was the prospect of eagles, which we might glimpse again in that direction. Perhaps it was fate. All we know is it was meant to be.
At river’s edge we backed the trailer into the water and lowered the boat into the current. A family played nearby, taking turns on their jet ski. As we parked the truck and got our gear ready we noticed dark clouds on the horizon, rolling and ominous. Within minutes of our being on the river itself, lightning streaked across the sky. Grinning we looked at one another. “Hmmm” we thought, “Graphite fly rods, aluminum boat, water, lightning – not a good combination.” We quickly reversed direction, tethered our boat to a tree near the boat launch and climbed the hill and got back into our truck to wait out the storm. We got there just in time. Rain pelted the roof. Lightning flashed, thunder boomed. We turned on the radio and listened to the end of the baseball game – The Yankees, our heroes, winning once again. The radio was filled with static from the electricity in the air. It was damp and fun and alive.
The storm passed as quickly as it had blown in. We returned to the boat, and the river and began to fish as we drifted downstream. A couple on inner tubes came floating by. They asked if we had been caught in the marble-sized hail. “No,” we replied, the hail hadn’t come through where we had been.
Our time on the river passed quickly. We didn’t see eagles this time around but that was fine. It was warm and sweet and the air smelled of river and grasses and the occasional fragrant blossom.
An hour before dusk we headed for home. As we followed the road that meandered along following the river, we noticed that it had changed from just a few hours earlier. We noticed scattered leaves and small rockslides littered the road.
As we arrived back in Milford, all was dark in the stores and buildings. At first we assumed that since it was Sunday everything had closed early. But as we came to the corner we noticed that the town’s only stoplight was out and the volunteer fire department was directing traffic. They had blocked off the road continuing down river and the only route available was uphill. This was fine with us as we needed to go that way to head home but since we were curious we rolled down the window to find out what was up.
“Tornado” they said. We could hear the adrenaline still charging their voices. “It touched down just down the road a piece. There was damaging hail, trees uprooted and power lines are down.”
Thanking them we looked at one another. Heading up the hill we found shredded leaves left in the wake of the freak storm’s passing. The electrical power near the river and in our little town was out for days. Some local farmers had lost all of their crops – rows of corn flattened, ripening peaches and apples demolished. All in a blink of an eye. Some were taken by the twister itself, others by hail and the sudden high winds. Truly the twisting and turning of fate.
Had we been on that stretch of river that day – who knows? But to us it was once again a real time lesson about respecting one’s rhythm and one’s hunches and one’s heart. We were grateful that on that particular Sunday afternoon we weren’t trying to get somewhere and get there fast. Simple choices – profound results.