Thursday, February 9, 2012

Paying Up

It's been a mild winter. Not much snow. Only a few bitterly cold days. Lots of sunshine. I shoveled the sidewalk once. It didn't really need it. We haven't used our fireplace as much. My car never slid on the road, and the tires never started spinning without traction. One gets the feeling we're going to cruise right through this season and never quite experience it. There's been nothing to it.

Few challenges in life are like that. I don't mean the things we worry about that never happen, but the things that are unavoidable and unwelcome. Only a lucky few can get through life without a trip to the dentist to fill a cavity, or win that scholarship that would have made getting an education so much more reachable, or land the job of their dreams before the old sheepskin has gathered any dust. We do our best to brush and floss, study hard, and write the perfect resume. Cavities, hard under-rewarded work, and lost careers happen to most of us.

There are a lot of trite things said about challenges--mostly overcoming them. I like to think of them as the hot sauce in the chili, the burn in the whiskey, the ouch in the band-aide pulled off a hairy limb. They bring tears to your eyes. Pain reminds you you're alive, and that's a good thing!

So as I look out on an unseasonably warm winter day, squinting at the brightness of it and notice the buds swelling much too soon, I am uneasy at the easyness of this weather. I like to pay as I go and distrust situations where the bottom line is something unknown and brushed off. When the bill comes in, I'll have to pay the price.

I distrust this winter. Come spring the bill may come due. I don't want my spring bulbs to pay the price.