While traveling to Fergus Falls, Minnesota to celebrate Thanksgiving, I ran into a snowstorm. This is was not a major storm but enough to leave roads somewhat snow covered and icy. Twice I nearly stopped to hunker down at a motel thinking I could continue my trip the next morning. However, even while driving cautiously, I was making good time, the roads were not that bad and I seemingly could push through.
That is until I drove onto a bridge outside St. Cloud, Minnesota.
With the combination of darkness, cold and precipitation, I could not see that the bridge was masquerading as an ice hockey rink. So, once all four tires were on the bridge, I began a series of spins that left me bouncing off a guard rail, back out onto I-94, where by now two following cars were sliding in an attempt to stop from hitting me.
Thankfully, the two vehicles were far enough behind me that hitting me was not a threat. Besides, the motor of my vehicle still ran, which meant I was propelled into the snow covered median where I came to a rather gentle stop.
Though shaken, I was fine. And while this was all certainly an pain-in-the-ass, leading eventually to the insurance company totaling my cherished Ford Explorer, my son and I managed to walk into his home around two in the morning - grateful, hungry and tired.
Upon returning to Davenport, Iowa a few days later, I recounted my experience to my breakfast pals, one of whom is a long time student of Zen who delights in reminding me of Zen stories that over the years we have both heard and read.
Of course, I was telling the tale from the perspective of one who had been bitten by another of Life's unfairness and injustices.
True to form, with his Cheshire Cat like smile he looked at me and with an economy of words that is his character, he simply said, "Maybe."
Here is that to which my cantankerous, pain-in-the-ass friend was referring.
Once upon the time there was an old farmer who had worked his crops for many years. One day his horse ran away. Upon hearing the news, his neighbors came to visit. “Such bad luck,” they said sympathetically.
“Maybe,” the farmer replied.
The next morning the horse returned, bringing with it three other wild horses. “How wonderful,” the neighbors exclaimed.
“Maybe,” replied the old man.
The following day, his son tried to ride one of the untamed horses, was thrown, and broke his leg. The neighbors again came to offer their sympathy on his misfortune.
“Maybe,” answered the farmer.
The day after, military officials came to the village to draft young men into the army. Seeing that the son’s leg was broken, they passed him by. The neighbors congratulated the farmer on how well things had turned out.
“Maybe,” said the farmer.