In Praise Of A Woman’s Spirit!

I grew up devouring books about girls who overcame hardships and challenges in life and found happiness and success.  Most of the time.  The books I read didn’t always have happy endings.  Regardless, I was inspired to read of girls who grew up and lost friends, lost loves, lost their lives, their farms, their families and yet persevered.  The message I took from these stories was:  Women find ways to continue on.  Not quite, “…tomorrow is another day.”  More like “Today isn’t over ’til it’s over!”

This morning as I was planning how to design my day around the 5″ snowfall that hit us overnight and preparing for the snows that were yet to arrive later in the day, I heard a snow blower’s roar outside.  It was 6AM.  I knew someone was digging out readying to get to work.  The familiar grind was comforting.  The idea of a large snowfall invigorated me.  I decided to make muffins for breakfast.   There’s something about the smell of fresh brewed coffee and warm baked goods that has always made me feel grounded and ready to tackle the chores of the day.  And I thought warm muffins and good coffee would be a welcomed reward for Don, who, I was certain, would be heading out to plow our drive.

What I noticed, though, above the noises from my kitchen antics was that the snow blower motor continued to labor outside louder and louder.  “Is somebody here,” I heard Don ask from the family room.  The escalating noise drew Don and I toward the dining room window at the front of our house.  Outside, in our driveway, behind a plume of white snow was my neighbor, Lea Powers, clearing out our drive!   

The site of her petite image manhandling the snow blower across our snow covered drive was inspiring.  It brought back to mind the images of heroines I use to conjure in my head as a young girl reading stories about young women facing the challenges of deadly winter storms on the prairie.  Those girls showed grit and courage despite their fears.  Those girls knew that lack of experience or knowledge could break them if they let it.  Those stories taught me that even if you don’t know what to do, or how to do something, you had to try and DO something.  Go down, swingin’.  That was the spirit!  Those girls always got my attention!

This morning, Lea got my attention.  She is a single woman who’s had to show grit and courage through real life tragedy.  She is graceful in sharing her story of loss and grief and renewal.  I’ve also witnessed Lea’s elegant determination as she moves forward in her life.  I was proud of her as I watched her out in the snow this morning.  I was as proud of her then as I had been as I watched her tackle the purchase of the house next to ours last summer, watched her struggle with bringing back the yard and lawn, and watched her send off her youngest to Purdue.

We may not live on the prairie or out in the desolate frontier any longer, and we have tools and machines at our disposal that the heroines of my childhood couldn’t have imagined, but once in a while the adventurous, determined, fearless spirit of women shows up in the darkness to clear a safe path for a friend.  That spirit helps each of us survive!