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Perspective: Blazing a trail in the snow

Alejandro Luego

Growing up in the South, I’m used to crazy winter weather driving, but I expect more from my adopted Midwestern community. Yet I recently heard two stories about harrowing morning commutes in the snow. One coworker complained about the drivers travelling at 25 or 30 miles an hour on the highway. Frustration built as my friend bided their time waiting for slower drivers to exit the road or for the left lane to be clear enough to be used as a passing lane.

Another person shared a very different perspective. Snow was falling and they were travelling the unplowed highway, trying to “keep it between the ditches,” as they say in the South. They were blazing a trail through several inches of snow. They were feeling pretty good about their progress until the driver behind them began honking the horn and riding their bumper. It was stress that wasn’t needed on an already difficult drive.

In both stories, we hear about drivers frustrated at the pace of the cars they were following. Yet neither realized that those slower moving cars were actually clearing a path and serving as guides as they made their way through the falling snow.

These stories underscore the myopia that can cloud our vision when we face what we perceive as an obstacle in our path, but what may actually be an advantage in disguise. Sometimes the person ahead of us isn’t actually blocking the way, but rather clearing the way for our arrival.

Maybe if we take a breath and shift our vantage point, we can appreciate the folks who are blazing the trail for our own success before we’re even visible in their rearview mirrors.

I’m Suzanne Degges-White and that’s my perspective.

Chair and Professor - NIU counseling and higher education