Pausing By Woods On A Snowy Evening
It had been snowing since dusk and well into Friday night. By midnight the Interstate was down to one lane. On through the dark snowy night the highway department plows maintained their valiant efforts to keep the main roads clear. The call came just before 5:00 AM.
(Photo right: “Smoking Gun Transport” is being pulled up over Hogback road after spending the night in the snowbank, after following misguided GPS directions.)
The callers voice had an edge of frustration, he said in a flat tired voice, “I think I need a tow, I am sort of stuck” “Where am I? , That’s a good question, I was looking for a truck stop, got off …the St. Petersburg Exit. My GPS told me to turn left on 478, and then left on Freeman, and before you know it I’m heading down this steep hill, and I get to… there is a pause…I get to Hog Back Road and my GPS tells me I need to turn around. That’s a joke…ha… I can’t move. Yeh, it’s a tractor trailer, great so you know where I am, you’ll send a wrecker...OK, don’t worry I am not going anywhere.”
With daybreak a wrecker is dispatched. The crew finds on the narrow township road, a jack-knifed tractor, with a loaded car trailer, one end in a ditch and the other end tight against the steep bank at a ninety degree turn. Near by is the sign “No Winter Maintenance. The first order of business was to get the unit back on the road pointing in one direction. That accomplished, and with the arrival of additional equipment, the next step was to get the stranded truck up over Hogback.
The snow has stopped. It is afternoon and the winter sky is patched with blue. The wooded hill landscape is mantled in snow. From the hollow comes the sound of machines. Around the bend on the meandering snow covered road comes the procession, a bulldozer clanks up the road pulling the unstuck “Smoking Gun Transport” truck and trailer. A familiar yellow and red wrecker backs up the rear to offer further assistance when needed. It is not long before the truck was back on Route 478 under its own power heading for…the truck stop. (Or do we say the The Emlenton Truck Plaza off exit 42?)
Pardon the clichés, but in a way it is all in a days work. However it is also an exaggerated example on how our resolute trust in our electronic gadgetry can possibly lead us astray. Perhaps it would be best to pause when common sense or the inner voice compels us to look before we leap. How often in our days of hurried activity, we find our selves on automatic pilot, multi-tasking, not paying true attention.
One recalls the remembered lines of Robert Frost winter poem, Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening.
Stopping By Woods
on a Snowy Evening
Whose woods these are I think I know.
His house is in the village though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.
My little horse must think it queer
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year.
He gives his harness bells a shake
To ask if there is some mistake.
The only other sound’s the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake.
The woods are lovely, dark and deep.
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.