Easy World and The Storm

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I have been meaning to write out this, one of my most favorite Easy World experiences, for many months, and finally did that today. Enjoy!


One of my most dramatic Easy World stories occurred early this past September as my husband, Rick, and I, plus our two dachshunds, were headed up to Lake Michigan from our home in Denver, Colorado. We were more than ready for a totally relaxing, 2-week stay at my sister's wonderful old Victorian-era cottage that sits only a few steps from the shore of the lake. We were driving our Honda Odyssey van, which we'd had thoroughly checked over by our neighborhood mechanic the week before we embarked on the journey, and we set out with high spirits, expecting only ease and joy on our way.

Which is what we experienced--until we came within 45 minutes of the hotel we had booked for our first night's stop in Atlantic, Iowa, at an economical, dog-friendly hotel. We met up with a huge storm, and while we were able to make it to the hotel without incident even in the pouring rain, the skies fully opened up as soon as we arrived. Fortunately, we had been listening to intuition, and had stopped at a gas station just before the storm had gotten really bad and had walked the dogs and filled up the van. So when we got to the hotel in the midst of the deluge, the real problem was unpacking the stuff from the car that we needed. Rick valiantly handled that while I got the dogs settled in the hotel room and though he was soaked, he was not unhappy. Though the storm had effectively stymied our plans to go into town to get dinner, fortunately, the hotel had frozen pizzas for sale, and facilities for baking them. We were amazed at how delicious that cheap pizza was because it seemed heaven-sent! And the rain went on and on, the storm seemingly stalled over Atlantic.

The room had high-speed wireless Internet service, and we had brought both our laptops, but we were so tired from the long day's drive, we didn't really need them. I did, however, check some weather sites only to find that, indeed, the storm had stalled over Atlantic, Iowa, dumping an amazing amount of rain in a very short time (not that I needed someone else to tell me that!), and that the highway we'd come in on was partially flooded! Good thing we had arrived when we had! We had joked about a place in Iowa being named after an ocean--we now had a clue as to why! I decided to look into the forecast for the next day, and was none-too-pleased to see that the storm we had ridden into Atlantic on was taking exactly our route eastward, and was even predicted to turn north and move up the eastern shore of Lake Michigan exactly as we would be doing! Unbelievable! We would be catching up with the storm and would most likely be driving in it all day the next day. I caught myself starting to freak out. Driving in the rain is one of the biggest fear-triggers for me, and it just did not fit in with the Easy World scenario I had planned.

We were determined to reach the cottage the next day, and I was equally determined not to spend time in the rain! So I tapped into my power and said, "Look. That will simply not work. I will NOT drive through the rain and lightning all day. I choose to live in Easy World where everything is easy!" And I felt a peace about it and fell asleep quite sure that it would be handled.

When we awoke the next morning, it was a beautiful, sunny day, the only hints of the storm being some puddles in the hotel parking lot and steam rising off the highway. I gathered our stuff and walked the dogs while Rick packed the car, and we were right on time leaving according to the schedule we had set. We had some coffee and mini-muffins in our room and planned to stop down the road for a more substantial breakfast as we were only about 90 minutes from the charming little town of Newton, Iowa, where we had stayed in the past, and had enjoyed breakfast at Hardees, a North Carolina-based fast food franchise. Being an NC girl with no access to Hardees in Denver, I was excited at the prospect of having a Hardees breakfast biscuit. So Rick went to take the last of the stuff to the van and I was ready to join him, after making a last check of the room.

But our departure was to be delayed--the van wouldn't start. Fortunately, we hadn't yet checked out and there were hours to go before checkout time, so we went back to our hotel room and called AAA. They sent someone out immediately and our wait was only about 20 comfortable minutes, relaxing on the bed, watching television. We never let this incident concern us--clearly, we were being watched over, such were the conditions of the situation. I mean--if you're going to have car trouble on the road, best to have a comfy place to wait it out!

Assuming that the water from the night before had caused the battery to fail, the guy that AAA sent simply gave us a jump, and we assumed that the drive would charge it back up. So we set off toward Newton. When we were just about to the exit, I told Rick I didn't really feel the need to stop since we'd already lost time and even if we had left as planned it was going to be a very long day's drive, but he wanted me to have my treat, so he decided we should stop anyway. Besides--we had loved Newton--and were sad that the Radisson we had stayed at with the dogs before was now defunct since Maytag was no longer headquartered there. It would be nice just to be there.

As we drove the few miles off the interstate into the heart of the little town, we were disappointed to realize that what used to be Hardees was now another fast food place, and decided not to get food but just to stop and stretch and give the dogs a chance to relieve themselves. We spotted the perfect shady place behind some commercial buildings where there was a swath of green, ideal for a dog walk. We pulled around to the back of one of the buildings, walked the dogs, and got back in the van. Rick turned the key and...nothing. We were so very glad we had our AAA membership!

So we called again and they said someone would be on the way. They asked for our location, and so I walked around to the front of the building so we could tell them, and my funnybone was immediately tickled: we had unwittingly parked behind an auto-parts store! While we waited for help, I suggested to Rick that he might want to go in the store and scope out a new battery in case that is what we needed. So he set off to do that while I read a magazine. He came back with a new battery and tales of a Mayberry-like encounter with the guys who worked in the store. Clearly, we were in Easy World. Where better to have parked?!

When AAA finally arrived (this time, we had to wait almost an hour), Rick, who is a computer genius, but not at all proficient in anything relating to cars, offered him $15 (all the cash he had in his pocket) to install the new battery, which he did. We figured this would save quite a bit of time since Rick had found out that the only full-service garage would be short-staffed around lunchtime and that we might have quite a wait if we went that route. But we were soon back on the road, feeling very grateful. Not once during these delays did we allow ourselves to leave Easy World.

The rest of the day's trip went without a hitch. Our new battery worked perfectly, and we made amazing time. Truly amazing time! In fact, when I had first called my dad to tell him where were were in eastern Iowa and it was already afternoon with so far to go, he had beseeched us to spend another night on the road, thinking it would be really, really late when we got in and that we would be catching up with the storm at any minute. But we never did catch up with the storm. When we'd stop to eat or get gas or walk the dogs, we'd notice puddles, and occasionally, we'd have to run the wipers to clear the light sprinkles from the tail end of the storm we seemed to be continuously right behind. It was a bit cloudy most of the way, but that worked to our advantage as it kept the van cooler and more comfortable. We had fun listening to the CDs of Garrison Keillor that Rick had checked out from the library, and, in general, just experienced harmony and joy. And even though we hit Chicago during Friday afternoon rush hour, we had an amazingly easy time making our way through it, and were on the other side almost before we knew it. The trip between Chicago and the cottage just flew by, and when we called Dad to say we were just a couple of hours from being there, he could not believe it.

We had succeeded in staying in Easy World--in just allowing things to unfold, not letting ourselves get caught up the the notion that things were going "wrong," and because we had, everything had lined up for us to have an easy, fun, safe trip, without encountering the violent weather. If we had not been delayed leaving our hotel, and again, in Newton, we would certainly have been driving in the storm all day, and indeed, when we reached the cottage, the storm had just passed. My insistence on not being in the storm and our invocation of Easy World and our continual appreciaton of it had saved the day. We miraculously ended up at the cottage at the time we had originally planned to be there and it was almost eerie--like we had somehow slipped in and out of time.

Choosing Easy World is truly the only way to travel! It's simply the only way to go, period!

© 2008 Julia Rogers Hamrick

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Rick said:

Julia, you did a great job describing our most-interesting trip last September.

What stuck with me in that experience was how calmly we took the events of the trip, one at a time. It has not always been my nature to react calmly to unexpected and sudden turns in the path, that's for sure!

And, it is true that, interpreted another way, our trip that day could have been a horror story we told over and over. Not truly horrible, of course, but a tale of inconvenience and delays. To tell it that way, though, is to ignore the magic we created.

When we look to the heart of that day, we see perfection unfolding! Everything happened to make our trip one without stress, as long as we were ready and willing to allow the trip to progress just as it needed to in order to avoid that storm which was hundreds of miles long.

That's one thing about Easy World: it is always there, even in the times when you wonder at first if it has disappeared on us!

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This page contains a single entry by Julia published on February 14, 2008 4:19 PM.

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