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March 16, 2006

The Gift of Shoveling

Several weeks ago, I was complaining to a colleague that since I'm teaching on the "other campus" this term, parking is a hassle and I have to walk 15 minutes each way to my car. Earlier in the conversation, I had lamented about how busy the semester had been and that I had not been able to get to the gym very often. (I'm really not a whiner!) Her immediate response was, "Well, you've been given the gift of walking."

Was this pollyanna at work, or a very thoughtful and clever reframe? I choose the latter. I've thought of it every time I've walked to and from class since then, and it's really helped.

Well, today I had another chance to put it into action. Overnight, we got ANOTHER dump of snow - the driveway and the car looked pretty much like they did in Monday's picture (below). Well, I got my reframe working and decided I had been given the gift of shoveling. I had still not been to the gym very often and was "looking forward" to spending part of the days ahead doing my income taxes, so some new thinking was needed. The gift of shoveling... It helped me get through it. Fortunately also, the snow was much less dense than Monday's snow. I am not surprised that the Eskimoes have 100 words for snow (or however many...) There truly are many types.

All of this reminded me of another great reframe, this one from Robert Frost. I found this poem serendipitously while in the base library while I was serving in the Navy and mainly wishing I was somewhere else. I close with his words. And to my colleague friend who helped me see the gifts in walking and shoveling -- you know who you are -- my thanks!

Dust of Snow
by Robert Frost

The way a crow
Shook down on me
The dust of snow
From a hemlock tree

Has given my heart
A change of mood
And saved some part
Of a day I had rued.

Posted by hgroteva at March 16, 2006 10:20 AM | Life | Minnesota


ah, perspective - like a pre-healing of a sour heart such that it never had the chance to sour.

I am jealous of the snow.

Posted by: Chris Gonzalez at March 16, 2006 2:20 PM

Good to hear from you, Chris. Don't worry - there's plenty more snow where this came from!

Posted by: Hal at March 16, 2006 2:24 PM

Don't forget warm-up excercise before shoveling! :) (Hi Dr. G., I just wanted to leave my trace as a blog reader... Have a good weekend!)

Posted by: Jaerim L. at March 17, 2006 3:51 AM