A meditation on stopping. And waiting. And waiting. Then going.


Submitted 5 months ago
Created by
Mark Travis

I've laid out the rants over and the reasoning behind the timed traffic lights on Beaver Meadow Road. All that's left now -- aside from the reconstruction work itself -- is reflection. 

Yesterday I passed through the lights coming and going several times, so I figure I'm as qualified as anyone to go deep on the subject. Buckle up.

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First, by and large, I believe most of us remain willing to tolerate moments of inconvenience in life, particularly if the cause is apparent. Case in point: Show up at Tracy Hall to pay your tax bill at the last moment, find you can't because the computer is down, you accept your fate and come back the next business day. Life happens.

But if the cause isn't apparent, we boil. We rage against the world. We grit our teeth and tense our shoulders and squeeze the steering wheel and otherwise undo all the good of our daily pre-dawn meditation.

Though it's no one's fault, the cause of the inconvenience that befalls those who hit the red light on Beaver Meadow Road is often nowhere to be seen. The workers may be in the stream bed below. If it's after hours, they're home with their feet up and the lights still do their thing. And given the traffic load on Beaver Meadow Road, more often than not you're sitting and waiting and waiting for ... nothing. No cars coming from the other direction.

It feels, as one of the ranters said, like stopping at a tollbooth in the middle of the desert.

Second, it is in our nature to focus on the half-empty ...

... and not the half-full.

It happens, right? The green light? I can't be the only one who has rolled up ... and kept right on rolling. Celebrate life's victories!

Third, and finally, we're all in too much of a hurry. Every last one of us. Especially in a town filled with active, over-booked achievers who always have someplace to be. 

Maybe the lights are sending us a message we all need to hear.

Slow down a little. Pause every now and then. Take in the sky and the trees, breathe deeply of your good fortune, and be glad you're here.

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