Wednesday, December 30, 2009


Time's running out.  2009 has a day left, so it's time to take stock a bit.  No, not to worry, this isn't one of those year in review pieces.  The media doesn't even wait till the end of the year to do that anymore.  How many times must we see Tiger's women, the White House party crashers, or hear the impassioned pleas of John and Kate?
No, time for another kind of review.  This one is simply to consider what happened in the last 12 months in a deeper way.  Looking at the big picture, I'd say it's all about the technology.  It's difficult to spot a real revolution when you are in the big middle of one.  No doubt, newspapers, books, TV shows, records, CDs's all changing.  As we become closer to everyone through Facebook, Twitter and the like, we become farther away.  It's all about the unreality of reality.  
But sometimes, we get a break.  Like yesterday.  
On a day we expected to get a little rain and perhaps an hours worth of snowflakes, we got a couple inches of snow.  The city of Portland stalled.  It started at about 2:00 pm.  By 3:30, most of the freeways and thoroughfares were gridlocked.  Without chains, you can' should never try to drive up a hill or even a slight incline.  I was lucky, I had to pick up Katie from work at 3:00.  We hightailed it back home and only skidded once.  I'm getting good at this snow driving thing.  Others weren't so lucky; even buses skidded into cars.  Some folks spent a few hours crawling home in their cars.  If you had good music, it was easier.  All this because nobody could predict the amount of snow that fell in a short time.  
That's the point.  I went out for a walk last night about 9:00.  Someone made a snowman in the infield of a circular drive at the end of my street.  The roofs glowed white.  Even the squirrels in the large elm trees on my street were excited.  I slushed and crunched around for a few minutes on this little stroll and marveled at how wonderfully satisfying it can be when all the experts are wrong.  When all the technology doesn't get it right.  Oh, I'm not trying to hold back what's coming.  That's impossible anyway.  I'm fond, however, of knowing that unpredictability still exists.  That even the weather can still be spontaneous.  There comes a time in everyone's life when you realize that newer, faster, less expensive, bigger, fancier, doesn't necessarily mean better.  When you realize with progress comes a tradeoff.  On this last day of this year, I'm weighing that tradeoff, giving it a long look, fingering the grain, learning to appreciate.

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