Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Winter (the season) (08/13/09)
TITLE: My Winter of New Beginnings
By Dan Blankenship
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Drinking became my prison cell. I broke out two years ago. But the urge to return to lock-up comes and goes.
I have five more gauges to check on the 80,000 gallon tanks of petroleum I’m in charge of monitoring. Suddenly, snow is beginning to fall. I haven’t seen it snow this hard in a long time. My mind races back to my childhood: snow days – out of school; snowmen – made in my front yard; my first kiss – right after creating a snow angel for my girlfriend. A lifetime of good memories made in the Midwest, where four seasons are both adored and reviled.
Happiness can’t be found in a chemical or an action. It can’t be bottled or bagged or marketed. It’s a way of life. I’m learning that more and more. The joy I looked for in the perfect bar or most excellent party was my way of confirming that I was incapable of seeing the joy that was around me everyday.
The snow begins to cover my uniform. It makes its way past my helmet and safety-glasses, landing softly on my cheeks. I rub my gloved hands across the safety railings and watch the snow fall away toward the ground below. I wonder if my girls are playing in the snow right now.
Looking out across the 105-acres of metal and concrete, I notice almost everything is being painted white. Corroded pipes covered in layers of oil and grease quickly become mazes of glistening light. It makes me wonder if God made winter so that we might see how quickly and completely things can change.
“Please help me change, Lord? I know you’ve brought this far. I’ve started to see life in a whole new way…but I want the kind of change a sudden winter snow can bring. I need a Saul to Paul conversion to take place in my life.”
My two-way radio suddenly sparks to life, “Derek, you okay up there? You never take this long to get the readings,” the voice echoing off the sides of the steel tanks that surround me.
“Yes, I’m okay, just taking my time and enjoying the view from up here,” I reply.
The voice came crackling through the radio. “The view? Man, Derek, you sure have been acting weird lately!”
“That’s exactly the kind of thing I want to hear,” I replied back, staring into the shimmering horizon as I finish my assignment. This is going to be my winter of new beginnings.
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