Greetings from snowy New England.

A friend from Jersey texted “Be safe!”

I smiled. “This storm’s going to miss us,” I thought.  The roads were clear and people weren’t fighting over the last of the bread and milk.  That’s how you can tell.

I used to get my forcasts watching the Weather Channel–if anchorman Jim Cantore was anywhere nearby, we were screwed.  If they sent someone else, we had a shot.

Since Verizon took it off the air the only way I know if a storm’s coming is to check the bread and milk shelves.  Looking good!  Maybe a few inches at most…

Our state prepares for storms by battening down the hatches and closing up shop.  Not me… I went out adventuring.

I’m ready!  I keep the car filled and five-gallon jugs for the generator.  If it’s bad, I don’t go out– school closes for days on end because the big cities nearby don’t shovel [Dirty secret:  I post students’ snow assignments online. No day off for YOU kid!].  I have a stocked pantry, a wood stove, and wifi.  Bring it on–New Englanders are used to this stuff.

“Thanks,” I texted.  “But we’re in Rhode Island... People drive terribly every day of the year.  I’m out Subaruing.”  Forester Gump and I were running tons of errands–the usual check-the-bread stuff and a few extras in the name of All Wheel Drive freedom and fun.

Bread on the shelves…  No storm!  A near miss is always a good thing, I think…

Warning: Life’s biggest mistake isn’t being unprepared for storms–it’s failing to be aware of the ones that pass us by.

I wonder how many storms loom on the horizon and never strike–in nature and in life.  Too many near misses aren’t always good luck–they make me complacent, arrogant.  Then, I  coast.   I take it easy on myself and I’m not ready when I need to be.

Whether it’s a day off or a fire in the wood stove, a little stormy weather brings comfort.  Although I’d wish away the biggest disasters, good comes from those, too–neighbor helping neighbor,  giving, rallying, protecting–heroic examples of love, courage, and resilience.

Little storms shake people up, big storms reveal the truth about humanity.

Adventure, confidence, luck, determination–gifts of the smaller storms.  Wisdom, tempering, acceptance, strength–“I’ll be ready next time,”–blessings of blizzards and hurricanes.  For cataclysms, life gives the gift of learning to open up and accept help–often it’s far easier to give than to say, “I need you.”

Every storm brings blessings.  Learning to receive is the biggest lesson the universe can teach.

As I answered the “stay safe” text, my New England storm hadn’t hit.  It would, soon, but for that moment, I looked brazen into the clouds.

“A miss!”  I thought.

Not for long…

Being ready for the storm is a constant thing, a habit.  Done well, it doesn’t feel like preparation at all–I’m simply ready.  I’m not hypervigilant or taken off guard.  I neither scramble nor coast.  I take my knowledge from the last storm, work harder, and navigate the next storm more smoothly.

I’m grateful for smooth sailing.

I’m grateful for the lessons of stormy seas.

“Looks like they got this one wrong…” We’d be getting a bigger storm than I thought.  I snatched a gallon of milk off the shelf–I would’ve bought it anyway, so it’s okay.

“Be safe!” said the text.

I am.

I work hard, I’m prepared, and I’m grateful for whatever the storm brings, especially the lessons that follow.


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