SIMPLY BRETHREN: Polar vortex ponderings

Don’t you love it when an incident inspires some kind of discovery or lesson in your mind? I do. And I had a couple (not good) incidents lately that gave incentive for pondering. Ah yes, pondering is much more possible when one is retired, but helpful before then, too. But I digress.

It started when on a snowy overcast polar vortex day I made an OK approach to an unfamiliar building south of Manistee. However, when I attempted to leave, I didn’t see the minuscule markers indicating the path out, and ended up in two feet deep snow from which I couldn’t remove me and my vehicle, so I hailed a tow truck back to Kaleva.

When the repair had been made to the underside of the car which I damaged trying to escape the ‘off-road route,’ I left the repair shop. And for some unknown and illogical reason I attempted to go to the right of the stop sign, which all of us know is always on the right side of the road. Fortunately a tow truck was handy, and pulled me out (of the two foot deep snow) with no charge. God is good and so are some people!

An observation, which I had made prior to my two mishaps, was that on an overcast day and especially when it’s snowing, it’s nearly impossible to see the contours of snow. And subsequent pondering helped me see that oft-times it’s very difficult to see the difference between the correct/right path and the incorrect/wrong path.

To be sure, in both cases where I erred, there were signs indicating where I should go, but in one case I didn’t see them, and in the other case I read the sign wrong.

So, I got to thinking of how frequently that happens in our lives. We’re really not sure, when we have a choice, which direction to go, because the two ways don’t seem that different.

That’s when the second part comes along. Look for the signs! And be certain to read the signs correctly! Now we see where further pondering took me regarding a few areas in which we have to make frequent decisions/choices.


Let’s take nutrition. What’s the difference between the nutritional or caloric value of a hamburger vs. a fish sandwich? Both have meat, likely lettuce, sauce of some kind and bread. If we’ve been around the block a bit, we know we can check the caloric value on the menu, at some stores anyway. And if we happen to be a weight watcher we can consult our little “tool” and find how many points on each.

Then there’s the allergy business. And some of us recently learned that the true description of an allergy means that the imbibing of a certain food is life-threatening. But, say the allergy experts, most foods that folks say they’re allergic to they’re actually just intolerant to. And the signs of that intolerance could be observed by the signs that excessive bloating or some other irritating signal gives that our system doesn’t like that food. Here again, we have to read and interpret the signs if we’re to make intelligent choices.


I frequently recall the forward in a very old book I saw at my grandmother’s house years ago. It indicated that a discriminating reader should seek books that contained edifying material, and that one should read books that nourished the mind. Well, we’ve come a long way since then. Or should I say we’ve descended a long way. Now we find ourselves wanting to be titillated by mundane material and we don’t care a whit about its value. Well, maybe some of us do some of the time, but I doubt if all of us do all of the time.

When teaching in elementary school, I discovered that reading-teachers encouraged students to be discerning about the author’s purpose. Not a bad idea. And when my husband and I would watch a TV program, I’d occasionally ask him what the author’s purpose was, to which he’d frequently reply, “To make money.” And to the many non-discriminating readers and TV watchers, there’s plenty of watching to be done directed by folks whose primary purpose in writing is obtaining a paycheck.

Likely there are signs in our behaviors indicating the degree of nourishing books we read and programs we watch, but likely we’re not discriminating enough to see those signs. But, make no mistake, they are making a difference in how we perceive our world and what we intend to do about it.


Not much will be written here regarding exercise, but many of us have only to pay attention to our breathlessness after climbing stairs, or listen to our moaning when we have to rise from a chair, to detect the signs of our not getting the degree of exercise our bodies require. The signs are frequently evident, even if we don’t see the difference between walking the stairs and taking the elevator. But we are so surrounded by other persons lacking fluid mobility and flexibility that we don’t recognize the signs in ourselves needed to encourage our getting out and moving.

However, that’s enough to be said about discrimination and signs, so this little exercise in verbiage-use needs to end.

Hopefully, we’ll all appreciate the exit of the polar vortex and the entrance of early spring, which likely will also soon exit. Fortunately, we’re all accustomed to taking what we get. Like, do we have a choice?

Anyway, Happy February!

Leave a Reply