A snowstorm that drops fifteen or more inches of snow onto an area that doesn’t pride itself on snow removal can be crippling. My area has been experiencing this over the past week and still continues to dig out from what would be a routine storm for many areas north of us. While major roads and thoroughfares are fairly well cleared, a drive through the local neighborhoods will reveal a horrendous exercise for your vehicle’s suspension system and the driver’s and occupant’s insides.
As the snow melts in the areas where most vehicles have traversed, the ruts in the snow become more pronounced. In many areas, packed down snow has turned to clumps of ice which seem as if they will never melt.
Driving through the neighborhood, I feel a little like Lightning McQueen driving on the dirt track just outside Radiator Springs (if you don’t get this, watch the movie “Cars”). You’ve got to go right to go left. Of course, my speed isn’t even close to a car on a race track, but I hope you get the point.
It doesn’t take much to fall into the ruts that have been set by those cars that have gone ahead of mine. Even if I try to stay outside of the snow ruts, the tires on my car somehow find their way back into the ruts again. Creating an alternate route outside of those ruts is near impossible for a simple Toyota Camry. Moving the tires outside of the ruts causes the car to slip and slide, to fishtail and swerve until its tires find their way back into the ruts again.
It seems an appropriate picture of life to me. When traveling on the road of life, it’s hard to get out of the ruts of those who have gone before. You can try to break out of those ruts, but somehow, you keep finding yourself falling back into them again. The only way that you can get out of those ruts is to either have a vehicle that can handle moving outside the ruts, like a 4WD SUV or truck, or by clearing the ground that has been formed into ruts to start afresh. Either way, you need the right tools to make it happen.
As much as I hate getting stuck in ruts, they seem fairly unavoidable in life. Just like the Virginia DOT, it seems that we aren’t willing to expend the resources needed to remove the ruts to clear a path. We figure that over time, those ruts will take care of themselves, and if they don’t, maybe they’re supposed to be there. We can easily settle for what exists or what’s second best rather than trying to forge ahead creating a new path.
I’m looking forward to getting out of the snow ruts in my road, if for no other reason to prolong the life span on my car’s suspension system. But I also like to drive down the road with the ability to move around here and there. If something is in the way, I want enough margin in the roadway to avoid it. If things can be avoided that are a danger to me, my car, and my passengers, being stuck in ruts doesn’t allow for that avoidance.
Today, the temperatures will rise, the sun will shine, the snow will melt, and the ruts will be diminished, even if it’s ever so slightly. Nature will take its course and allow for that to happen, but the ruts in our lives need more intentionality to be removed. What will you do to remove those ruts? Or are you comfortable with them just the way that they are?