Friday Photo: In The Moment

Taking a road trip can be a stressful experience.  There is the planning, the packing, the money, the time, the scheduling – all that can make leaving the house a real hassle.  Adding into the mix any sort of scheduled activity just further complicates the matter.  Then, tossing in children, pets and a spouse and most moms would rather stay home.

This week all my best-laid plans completely turned upside down and I found myself needing to make an unexpected 260-mile road trip on Friday afternoon.  Logistically and rationally, it didn’t make any sense, but nevertheless I booked a hotel, packed my bags, took off from work a few hours early and loaded my daughter and her ski gear into the car and headed for the southeastern Sierras.

Being the type of planning oriented person I am, spontaneity can often really stress me out.  Having children 
is teaching me that sometimes life is unplanned, uncontrolled, and I’d better just learn to go with it.  I’m
 trying to take life as it comes, but sometimes it’s really hard.  Like many things in life, the more I practice
 the easier it becomes.  Still, stress otfen wins out until I’ve slammed the door shut and there’s no
 turning back.

After several hours of cruising down highway 395 we crested a pass and before us lay the most awesome expanse of Mono Lake.  Descending the hill and climbing closer and closer to the shore the sun began to set, encircling us with a cotton candy pink glow.  As the highway lined the lake I began to see a white edging against the jade green water, and ice cream cone shaped ivory turrets starkly jutting up out of the lake.  Snow?  The rest of the landscape was dry and brown, so I began to look deeper.  I stopped to get a closer look, and realized that what appeared to be snow was simply rock taking on a different hue at that precise moment as the sun went down.

 Hopping back in the car, I realized how lucky I was to be in that exact place that exact moment with
daughter by my side.  I realized that if I hadn’t let go, if I had resisted and refused to change plans, this
 day would have been very different.   What I saw with my eyes was awe-inspiring, and what I saw with
 my heart was awe inducing.  That simple moment with my daughter reminded me of the power of being
 present, and the weakness of being in control.
 So when you think of the days and plans you have in front of you, imagine what would happen if 
you stopped, let something slide, and slipped into the present.  What would take on a different hue for you?


Jennifer Wolfe

Jennifer Wolfe, a writer-teacher-mom, is dedicated to finding the extraordinary in the ordinary moments of life by thinking deeply, loving fiercely, and teaching audaciously. Jennifer is a Google Certified Educator, Hyperdoc fanatic, and a voracious reader. Read her stories on her blog, mamawolfe, and grab free copies of her teaching and parenting resources.

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  1. Hi Pamela- when you roll with it you end up going in interesting directions!
    Susan- Thank you. I’m going to look up that article-Mono Lake is fascinating to me. When I drove back on Saturday night it looked completely different!

  2. As I have learned, we really are not in control. We are simply tumbling along with the events of our lives.

    The photo is stark and stunning. I just read an article in “Popular Science: Oct. 2011” called ‘The Mystery of Mono Lake’. Seeing your photo shows me what the article was asserting. Excellent teachable moments!

  3. Hi perspective-You’re right, it can be tough. It’s good to do, though-just like taking vitamins!
    Hi Hilary~ I love to stop and pull over and look at something up close-you should try it!
    Hi Kim-Here’s to less control in 2012!
    Hi Carla, thank you! I’m a planner, too, and it’s a conscious effort to ‘go with the flow’!
    Courtney- letting go is a beautiful thing.
    Hi Kathy! You’re welcome! It is hard for us moms to slow down, for sure!
    Hi Agent- Thank you. I agree completely.

  4. Jennifer this is so good for me to read!! It can be so easy to get caught up with the plan and not slow down enough to enjoy the little gifts the day can really bring us! Thanks for the gorgeous picture and the gorgeous words!!

  5. Jennifer… you remind me so much of myself and in doing so you also reminded me that I too need to slow down and release “control”. So funny, I make plans all the time.. and when my day does not go as “planned”… not a pretty sight! Let’s just say I needed to let go! Thank you for the beautiful insight to your day. Blessings.

  6. this was great for me to hear! i’m so about details…getting to where i need to go…that i miss the enjoyment along the way. thanks for writing! 🙂

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