Muscadine Lines: A Southern Journal

A Will To Live

Winston Rand


Trudging through life, coping with the day-to-day challenges and turmoil, we sometimes need a reminder that we too can survive, even beyond all odds. Those little reminders come in various packages. Sometimes it’s a child with a serious affliction who is happy and smiling; other times, a warm, frisky puppy that has not a care in the world except to please you; and occasionally, it will be the totally unexpected. Such was the case one day last week.

Arriving back at the office in late afternoon, something caught my eye as I walked from the car to the office entrance. It took a few seconds for it to register that I was seeing an empty styrofoam cup in the center turn lane of the busy street out front. There was a push of air from heavy traffic in both directions, causing the little truncated cone to roll in an arc first one way, then the other. The occasional draft of a larger vehicle would move it up and down its chosen lane a few feet. Then more rolling in arcs around its new pivot point until another large draft moved it a few feet forward or backward.

Becoming quickly mesmerized, I stood for perhaps fifteen minutes watching the struggle, the close misses, the movement to and fro. At some point I realized I was cheering the little cup onward in its quest to survive against the impossible odds of the multi-ton monsters bearing down on it from every side. And then it occurred to me how much like life that is. Wishing the dancing traveler well, I went on into the office. Half an hour later after checking email, washing up, and shutting down for the evening, I emerged to find the cup still at it. It had moved about 20 or 30 feet down the turn lane and seemed to be slightly damaged, but not enough to keep it from rolling and arcing, performing its death defying dance. After watching a few more minutes, I had to leave the cup to its unique brand of madness, knowing full well that it would be flattened or completely gone come morning.

Imagine my surprise and delight to arrive back at the office the following morning to find the cup, not squashed by one of the many behemoths that passed this way during the night, but intact, resting gently on the grass a few feet from the street. It had a nick, but was otherwise alive and well. I thought of placing the cup back in the middle of the turn lane for another go, but decided it may prefer the resting place it had chosen and worked so hard to reach. Then I was tempted to take it in and leave it sitting on my credenza as a reminder. But such an adventurer needs freedom and would not fare well in captivity. So I left it where it was, and carried away the memory of its struggles and the lesson of perseverance it taught.

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Winston Rand, BSEE, MBA, MBSA, provides network support for small businesses around the Nashville area. His blog, nobodyasked.com, displays a pleasing balance of serious and humorous material covering a wide range of topics, from politics and war to observations in a local pub, from religious roots to rooting for the Tennessee Vols and Titans. Rand resides in Franklin, Tennessee, with two blondes -- one his wife, the other a spoiled but lovable cocker spaniel.

© Winston Rand

Muscadine Lines: A Southern Journal ISSN 1554-8449, Copyright © 2004-2008