For all the hours I’ve spent on the road, all the years living in Nebraska and Wyoming, I have never hit a deer or an antelope. I have had a number of other car accidents, but I’ve always spotted the deer while driving before anything bad could happen. Until this morning…
Right now, it is completely dark for most of my commute. This morning the moon accompanied me on my drive. I was in between Doniphan and the interstate (as the picture below shows). Things were going fine, music on, cruise set, and I was checking traffic to decide when to go into the left lane so I could merge onto the interstate. I just crossed the bridge when the deer appeared.
I was still in the right lane when the deer appeared on the passenger side, just in the fading part of the headlights. Both of us were caught in that eternal second. Because of the light the deer looked like a ghost, faded, almost transparent. I could see his head snap back and his black eyes widen. I swear his expression was, “What the….”
I did nothing. Which was the best thing. The deer and I caught up with time. It seemed my car lurched forward to do it, getting ahead of the deer to miss him. I looked into my review mirror but could not see if he crossed the road or not.
No matter how much we try, we cannot control Life. We have control of our attitude, or work ethic, and our smile. But Life, it is like a box of Ping-Pong balls dumped out on a concrete floor. We will get knocked around, sometimes drastically. This got me thinking about dictionaries…
As an English teacher I forever get the question, “How do you spell that?” I would always respond with directions to the bookshelf where the dictionaries sat waiting to be opened. Even when my students had computers I would get that question. At a time when answers are sometimes just a click away, why did my students still ask that question?
I think part of the shift we are experiencing, in school and our own lives, must include the ability to react (or know when not to in my case) to Life. That is a grand statement, but I’m not sure I have had a whole day where something didn’t go wrong. Where a Ping-Pong ball didn’t knock something off track. Or a deer run out in front of you. Are you prepared to react, to adapt? Are students prepared?