Have you ever noticed that crises don’t have the decency to line up and come single file, waiting patiently until the previous demand has been met?
It’s snowing – again. During the unusually big dump, three weeks ago, I met this guy digging out not only the access to his carport, but a neighbour’s place as well. Then he went on to help clear the way for a midwife who lives down the lane before she returned from night shift at the hospital.
“The important thing,” he told me between shovelfuls of snow, “is to not let it pile up on you.”
“But it’s still snowing!” I said, as my blue toque turned white with accumulated fluffy stuff.
“I know. But if I waited until it stopped the task would seem overwhelming. So I work, take a break, and work some more.”
He tossed another shovelful on a snow bank taller than he was.
“Just keep at it,” he grunted.
I admit he demonstrated a better work ethic than I often do. Sometimes I look at the task ahead of me and feel so overwhelmed I quit, hoping a miraculous event will clear the path like a sudden thawing chinook wind (which we don’t get on this side of the Rockies.) At the moment I feel buried under inertia.
But the man with the shovel reminds me to persevere.
So first I respond to obligations and crises, then clear my desk, file my notes, answer my emails, take a break, clear my emails, edit my photos, take break, and write my stories – one sentence a time. I toss words on the page like tossing shovels full of snow on the spot I hope will transform into a garden someday.
It feels overwhelming but maybe, someday, there will be a book where once nothing existed but blank whiteness.
Just keep at it.