There are times when my mind drifts aimlessly across the breadth of the human experience. This is usually as the sun is rising, my hound dog Xena is sniffing the grass, and our long walk together is breathing new life into my body. These are magical moments, when my mind is liberated from the concerns of everyday existence and I am free to roam freely through the flowered fields of my consciousness!
This morning lent new meaning to the unpredictability that comes with springtime in the Rockies. Over the course of a one hour excursion; it is safe to say that my faithful canine companion and I endured all four seasons. It had rained overnight and there was still a sharp chill in the early morning air. Xena expressed her displeasure over the fact that the falling droplets had all but erased traces of the good scents along the sidewalk.
This time of year, prudence dictates that I dress in layers. Over the length of a one-hour trot, the temperature can fluctuate up to twenty degrees. I was fully prepared as my walking partner and I headed out the garage door. Wearing a t-shirt, covered by a sweatshirt, worn under a medium-weight jacket; I had myself fooled into thinking that my prior Boy Scout training had me fully prepared!
Ten minutes into the jaunt, the wind came sweeping off the still snow-capped mountains. The piercing cold cut effortlessly through my garments. Suddenly, “chilled to the bone” took on a new personal meaning. I quickly pulled my hood up and tied a sloppy bow knot with the drawstrings. The zipper to the jacket was tugged up and I shivered slightly. Xena turned to investigate the sudden commotion on the other end of her leash. She gave me a half-amused and half-disgusted look. With a shallow sigh, she turned back into the wind, the genetic beneficiary of a thick oily undercoat.
No more than a quarter-hour later, true to Colorado form; the sun emerged with a vengeance! The temperature was rising quickly and my jacket had been magically transformed into a Dutch Oven. The coat came off, the hood was pulled back, and I was drenched in sweat. Yes, once again my furry-faced friend shot me a brief grin. Apparently an undercoat not only serves to retain warmth; it also has a cooling effect. Damn selective breeding!
By the time we reached the garage a half hour later, my face was flush and an ice-filled glass of Coca Cola was on my radar. Sitting at the dining room table, it suddenly struck me that today’s walk could have taken place some 2,500 years ago in classical Greece. I had been privileged to personally live out one of Aesop’s famed Fables!
The sun and the wind were debating who was the stronger of the two. They spotted a man walking along a dirt road, a cloak wrapped around him. The pair made a friendly bet as to who could rob the man of his coat. The wind went first, stirring up a sheer tempest. The poor man fell victim to the wrath of the blowing gale; clutching his coat tighter against him in an effort to ward off the cold air. Exhausted, the wind gave off one more blast of air. The man down below fell to the ground, wrapping his coat snugly around himself.
It was now the sun’s turn. The heavenly body closed his eyes and began to radiate heat in every direction. The ground below began to blister from the new-found heat and a small brook began to emit a slight vapor. The man below shielded his eyes from the bright glare as he looked up at the celestial furnace. He rapidly pulled his coat off and draped it over one arm. The wind had to admit that his adversary had won the wager.
During my morning walk, I had been taunted by both the wind and the sun. Aesop would have been proud. Fierce wind had been trumped by the gentleness of the sun. Therein was a lesson to be learned; even if it had first been taught some twenty-five centuries ago!
How do you approach the events and situations that surface throughout your every day? Do you attack those around you with ferocity and coldness? Do you attempt to bully the world into bending to your will? Does it ever work, or do your victims clutch their “coats” even tighter around them? On the other hand, do you radiate warmth all around you? Do others react to you by gently removing the coats of protection that they wear against a world that is oftentimes too cold? Which approach yields the greatest result; forcing the universe to succumb to your will or gently urging the cosmos to see things as you do?
I am thinking about having a toga tailored for me. I have to believe that the Greek ancients were onto something with this fashion choice. For those of you who radiate warmth, I am sure that it will keep me cool. I will also order a cloak, just in case I run into those of you who give off a blast of icy air. I will look forward to seeing you on the time-worn path of humanity!