ROAD OF LIFE SERIES: #1 Stoplights (20220516)

I get irritated at stoplights. Silly, right? It is as if I expect the light to see my displeasure and react accordingly as I chant “turn, turn, turn” when approaching a red-light. Or hopefully, the light will take it personally and next time won’t turn red when I am coming to the intersection (how DARE it turn red?!). Or maybe the local department of transportation will see a video of my red-light anguish, have pity on my soul, and change the car detection algorithms (or wiring).

Right.

Stoplights have been planted for a purpose.

  • To slow us down, intentionally, and help control traffic flow and congestion.
  • To help us impatient humans to not run into each other.
  • To supply a means to allow people from all directions (and walks of life) to take a turn in driving through the intersection.
  • To allow pedestrians and cyclists enough time to cross the street without fearing for their lives.

Stoplights also force us to take a break in our mad rush down the road; perhaps to look around and see who is next to us, who is smiling, who is frowning, who is car dancing, and who is playing music so loud only someone in the next county (parish) cannot hear it. They give us a moment to look at our surroundings: the storefronts, people, homes, businesses, sky, and other influences on our environment. They give a gentle reminder that there are others in the world besides us (drivers, homeless, emergency workers, transportation drivers, walkers, runners).

They can also make available a moment to reflect on the good things that happened earlier in the day or learn from the mistakes and heartaches met along the road of life. They can give us a moment of solitude to calm down and breath even though road rage may rear its all-to-ugly head and strike us all too easily.

And they come with two added benefits: one to tell us when to go (act, decide, do, step on the gas) and one to caution us (watch out, be careful, look all ways) to be ready not only for the red-light but also for decisions in life, for preconceptions, and for much needed change.

We usually ascribe stoplights in order as green (GO), yellow/amber/orange (CAUTION), then red (STOP) but reality begs us to consider stopping for a moment to reflect (red), cautiously begin changes (yellow), and then to finally act (green). We trust others will remain in their lanes and follow the light sequence, and even when we are told to GO, it behooves us to look all ways as intersections are crossed.

Because we all get distracted and miss the signs right in front of our noses.

So, as stoplights force us to take a break in our daily drives, let’s use our time there wisely instead of drumming on the steering wheel impatiently waiting for green to appear.

Wind Fishing is Looking Up

I was out flying a kite the other day…doing my best to fish for the erratic winds blowing around me. Usually, I just have to cast the kite and I can catch the wind on my first attempt. This day was a bit different.

Wind Fishing

The wind went from quiescent to gusty and from blowing northward to cascading south (or east or west). Add in the change in direction and speed based on how high the kite flew, and what was a quick grabbing of the wind and soaring of the kite, turned into a dance where I was unsure of the music or the steps I was to follow.

I had to pay attention to the feel of the wind on my skin to discern the best position for the kite. I had to closely watch the kite to make sure its wings grabbed and filled with wind. I had to manage the tension on the string (rod, reel, and string) to ensure the kite was given freedom to soar or reeled in when the wind dictated a different direction. I also had to constantly look up and pretend I had some control of the situation and massage my neck which became stiff as I peered into the sky.

We all know wind fishing, like lake or ocean fishing, is all about patience (ever go fishing and never catch anything? ever try to fly a kite but never get lift-off?), knowing the environment (air and wind; lake, bay or sea; type of critter – wind, fish or other; type of coastland, shore, bank, boat), judging the best time of day (morning, afternoon, evening; midnight, low tide, high tide), and what bait (aka kite) to use to snag a keeper.

It is the pull and push of my sense of control, pride and knowledge versus nature, and for me, nature is usually the winner. I must keep vigilant, learn, observe, and change my tactics frequently…keeping the line taut when needed and releasing it to allow more movement and freedom.

And unlike water fishing where my focus is always down and out, wind fishing makes me look up. And that’s a great change in perspective. I not only get to watch the kite dance between the layers of wind, but I get the added benefit of observing the dance movements of the clouds and the birds who are so much better than I am at wind fishing…