I’m glad I left in plenty of time to drive to PT this morning. I’m grateful that I’ve been cultivating patience for the past thirty years. And I’m really grateful that with mindfulness practice the past few years I have expanded my understanding of and capacity for patience. Patience is an opportunity to inhabit the present moment.
After several startling surprises this morning, I set out for town with an open heart. At the Smith Fork bridge I encountered a bleating blockade. I drove slowly to meet them, and then put the car in park as they flowed around me. I smiled, breathed, let go of my timeline, and enjoyed the inevitable pause of the sheep drive. I’m glad I learned years ago to just sit back and let go: everyone around here excuses tardiness when they hear the words “cattle drive” or “sheep drive.”
I enjoyed watching the Basque shepherd and his dogs move the sheep out of the way so I could creep along, but honestly would have been fine just waiting for them to pass. As I crept a little too close to the guardrail the car scraped lightly against it, and patience allowed me to shrug it off rather than react with irritation: it was my fault not theirs, and no harm done to the car even if it left a new little scratch on the old crackling paint.
There was another delay in town where the aftermath of a fire still blocked the main intersection with first responders, a fire truck, hoses across the highway, and EMS and sheriff’s vehicles forcing a detour through town, but I couldn’t ascertain what had burned. I’d seen a plume of black smoke an hour earlier from the house and could tell the fire was out before I left.
I made good time through the dobies, enjoying the sere landscape and lovely clouds, and then encountered another opportunity for patience as a coal train blocked the road to Paonia for a few minutes. I smiled, slowed down, and enjoyed the view.
After PT, I dropped by a friend’s but she was napping so I was happy to move toward home. I finally girded my loins to stop in at the Service Station to schedule an oil change, and the dear grumpy owner was just as grumpy as ever, ‘hope you’re not in a hurry, I’m booked for three weeks,’ but patience again came to my rescue. I was totally agreeable, and by the time we finished negotiating, he told me to come at eleven next Wednesday and he’d hold the bay open. I smiled sweetly as I thanked him, and I’d almost swear he smiled back with a hint of mischief. At last, I was on my way back home!
I had to laugh as I rounded the corner just as this pulled out in front of me. There was quickly no turning back, with steep banks on either side and another car behind. I took my foot off the gas, embraced my morning companion Patience, and together we slowly followed the wet paint for a mile until we’d gathered a parade behind us and came to the next intersection, where there was a break in the paint just big enough for each of us to cut through and get ahead of the maintenance ensemble. I laughed all the way home. I’m so grateful that patience has taught me to let go of the ‘my needs first’ attitude I used to have and recognize the importance of everyone else’s needs too.