Saturday, February 9, 2013

Inclement Weather: Nemo 2013

I first wanted to blog because I did something historical, I trekked 1+ mile in Nemo (apparently they're now naming blizzards), the largest blizzard since '78 with 30+ mph winds and 9 inches of snow accumulated in one evening. I went to a friend's house earlier in the day and because the roads were closed to cars decided I'd have some fun "skiing" on a bike. It was a joyride and not dangerous since only walkers and the occasional obsequious flashing plows were out. I arrived and decided locking up the bike would be pointless so I shoved it under the front porch, safe from the storm. After some food, board gaming, and embracing the winter wonderland, I went outside to see how crazy it was to trek home. Descending the stairs I came up waist high in snow and had a sudden urge to do nothing but frolic. I went to my bike, which while not completely buried was certainly snow-covered with wind speeds at 35 mph. For amusement sake only, I went out to the road and successfully pedaled three revolutions before losing traction/balance. And then turning onto the immediate side street couldn't successfully cycle one revolution. Keep in mind the snow was past the front tires of most cars. But by that point a challenge had been planted in my mind and the thought of my bed and clean brushed teeth enticed me enough to accept it. I was going to walk the 1+ mile home, even though a couch was a perfectly welcome option. I made it to the main street and then the wind gust's bitter chill and ice prickled my face, despite the hood, scarf, and jacket up to my nose. I realized perhaps I had made the "wrong" choice, but I had already embarked and was ready to encounter Nemo firsthand. Keep in mind I saw 10+ people in the middle of the street, out for a walk, and if I hadn't been walking a bike, I would have blended into the 1:30 am Centre St scene well. But I was and despite passing 5+ plows, trucks, and bulldozer plows, attempting to keep the roads "clear", it was more like snowshoeing with the added challenge of a useless wheeled accessory alongside me. If I had simply been walking south, it wouldn't have been a feat, but alas I had to walk north (the direction of the wind). I realized the only way I was going to handle the blizzard for the duration required was to walk backward and push the bike, which mitigated the wind completely. Sooner than later, I was more than halfway, and realized I could do it. Despite not being able to look anywhere but the ground (or backwards), I glimpsed forward seeing the Boylston traffic light blurred in the distance, knowing I would soon be home. I arrived, with a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction that I really did just walk 1+ mile in the record-breaking snowfall day and largest blizzard since '78. Sure, this may have been "stupid" and "unnecessary" suggesting I should have taken the comfortable, "no pain no gain" route of the friend's couch, but for whatever reason I had a drive and determination to circumvent the blizzard by truly embracing it. When I got to where the steps of my house usually are, there was nothing but a large snow drift and I decided, despite the fact it would be unnoticed by morning, I would shovel the walkway. Once I turned out of the north direction, the stinging and frigid wind immediately ceased and it was nothing but a glimmering winter wonderland. And somehow the trek had rejuvenated me, perhaps from being so stir crazy all day.

I tell you this story because aside from the crazy, illogical, and perhaps preposterous decision I made,  I reflect a significant portion of who I am and for those who know me well, I'm guessing the above anecdote doesn't surprise you greatly. I've always known I've thrived on the uncomfortable, unpredicted, and more challenging path, but I think tonight I realized it's not only that I thrive on it, but on some level it is a necessity of my life. The love of adventure, the zeal and drive required, the innovation of how to surpass obstacles, the humor needed to walk in a blizzard, the need to physically experience the blizzard, and the achievement and satisfaction attained once the journey has been taken, these are all key elements to my personal core and for me, my favorite memories contain these. Some might think it a bit crazy to have sought out the chance to experience a blizzard. But I think as music requires both tensions and resolutions, we need obstacles and challenges to attain the success and satisfaction one receives from a job well done. I can now appreciate in a new and tangible way my heat, my dry clothes, my bed, and my fortune for having arrived safely. Had I stayed on the couch, I would have slothfully fallen asleep on a foreign couch and missed the rarity of such an event. And let's face it the story wouldn't have been the same!

What obstacles and challenges will I encounter in the remaining semester, especially as we embark to Venezuela (in a little over two weeks!)? I am unsure, but can ascertain that the story of how we overcome them and the strengthening of friendships that will be sure to follow will remain in my mind long after the initial journey is over and will be lessons that not only build character, but help shape future decisions and experiences. The challenge is needed to fully appreciate the good. Very rarely are the "good times" the easy times. They are the times when satisfaction and accomplishment and most often times growth have been attained. So I ask you, are you ready to experience inclement weather (or whatever obstacle), not just from a window watching complacently, but truly experiencing it firsthand, bitter, cold wind, and all? 

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