Can’t Go Forward, Can’t Go Back – Again!

Can’t Go Forward, Can’t Go Back – Again! August 22, 2011

After a nice dinner last night in Stillwater, G and I took a stroll by the St. Croix River. As we crossed the street at the point in the above photo (except that it was 9:30pm and dark), we heard someone calling for help.

A large, heavy-set man rumbled toward us from a big truck. He spoke in a thick accent, maybe Russian, explaining that he was told to take Highway 36 to 95 to 64 across the St. Croix River. “But sign says ’13 ft. 2 in’ and my truck is 13 ft. 6 in.”

He was obviously stressed out.

“Yeah,” I said, “that’s a lot of air to let out of your tires.”

I’ve had a long history of making jokes at inappropriate times and have noticed that my brother has a knack for this too. Must be a family inheritance thing.

Neither the trucker nor G thought my comment was amusing and the trucker distressfully repeated the directions he’d been given. “Highway 36 to 95 to 64 across the St. Croix River.”

Reality didn’t seem to be cooperating.

After several minutes of discussing the options, G and I not always agreeing how far the next bridge was, whether to go north or south, and what the name of the town with the bridge was, I pulled out my iPhone and showed him the map.

It was clear (and I would like to note here that I was more right) that he’d either have to go north about 20 miles to the next bridge and then back south about 15 miles to his destination or about 5 miles south and then north maybe 15 miles.

As the trucker walked away, he seemed to be mulling his options, and because he didn’t like the number of intersections he’d have to navigate if he went south, he was leaning on the long way – north. His first set of directions had gotten him stuck, after all, and despite our good intentions, he certainly wasn’t getting a clear signal from us and didn’t seem to trust the iPhone map either.

Both options required getting his truck out of the bottleneck facing the lift bridge he couldn’t pass through. Backing across a busy main street seemed like the only option – and very undesirable. 

We continued on our walk and after we’d looped back toward the car, we could see our friend leaning up against the rear bumper of his truck with his arms crossed, maybe waiting for a good idea … or rescue to appear from God knows where. 

The moral of the story? A few things come to mind.

Nobody really knows how any one of us is going to get through so creativity is important. But sometimes it’s either north or south.

Listening to others is important and yet their advice should be taken lightly. It’s our life, after all.

Do your best and don’t take it personally that the bridge is impassable. That might be exactly the point of the journey.

Waiting a while can’t hurt but, sooner or later, you’ll have to commit to a course of action.

And, of course, don’t leave home without your smart phone.

"Agree that the formal practice requirements appear minimal. Any dedicated practitioner will exceed this--in my ..."

Enlightenment in Dispute: Standards for Zen ..."
"I was not speaking of your center per se, but rather SZBA in general. Surprised ..."

Enlightenment in Dispute: Standards for Zen ..."
"Hi, Lay teachers are not included, regrettably imv, in the SZBA. In our in-house Nebraska ..."

Enlightenment in Dispute: Standards for Zen ..."
"The ango requirement pretty much cuts out lay teachers with families. Is that really what ..."

Enlightenment in Dispute: Standards for Zen ..."

Browse Our Archives

Follow Us!