EXPECTING

(c) Copyright Vincent J. Kern — 2003   All Rights reserved

THE UNEXPECTED

I’VE HAD A STRANGE FEELING for some time that unexpected things were around the corner. A few weeks back I wrote about the intense feelings of quiet and laying back with watchful eye that were invading The Vinman’s vibe. I wrote then that I sensed something around the corner and if you read about my recent adventures in the Upper Peninsula with dam breaks etc., there’s no need to fill you in. Usually, these feelings make me think bad things are about to happen, but as I reflect on the strange mysteries of the last few weeks I find that mostly some pretty cool unexpected finds have come my way and mostly they are mind-opening.

Crossing the Mackinaw Bridge from the lower to upper peninsulas is always an unexpected and mysterious five mile journey no matter how many times one has done it. A small plane crash into one of the towers in the dead of winter once kept me from returning from Northern Michigan University to Detroit to be the best man in a friends wedding in 1979. When I was younger I used to be afraid that the wind would blow our car over the bridge and down into the depths of Lake Michigan….ahhhhhhhhhhhh! Not afraid of that any more, but last week as I drove across I was thinking how we think we have tamed the forces in our environs only to be stopped in our tracks hours later by the burst dam.

If not all, most of the Great Lakes froze over completely this year. I know it was the first time Lake Superior froze solid in more than 20 years or something like that. So when we got to Big Bay I saw something unexpected and something I’d never seen before — ice in the bay in May. The picture above was taken last Friday and I imagine some of this stuff is still there today even though temps have been in the 60s and 70s since then. The whole bay usually freezes, but the ice is always gone by the time I arrive for my spring cleaning in May. Not this time.

I didn’t expect to work as hard as I did all weekend either.

After four hard days in the gym, one rest day and then another hard day I figured I’d rest the day of the drive and work mildly hard the other three. Instead I pushed myself physically because I could. That’s the only way to explain it. I think it was partially to take my mind off the disaster we witnessed but I also felt strong. A six-mile power walk one day followed by two days of intense raking and leave hauling, chain saw cutting and log disposal left me not sore but so physically tired I could not move in my bed once I got there.

The fresh oxygen was so invigorating I wanted to stay and do physical labor in my black leather work hat, flannel shirts, hiking boots and jeans for days. I could feel my muscles working and growing and saying “Vinman, you think you want to be a Voyageur? Buddy, you couldn’t hack it, the Voyageurs do this 12 hours a day, bub!”

I didn’t expect to enjoy the work, but I did. And I didn’t expect my sister to be such a mountain woman. She not only cut the mustard in terms of her work ethic, she worked better than most guys I’ve ever shared a rake with. There was no stop in that lady. I think we impacted my mom and dad to the point where they tried to do more labor than they should have, but hey you can’t ever let your offspring toil away while you just watch can you? Next year, I’ll have to insist they pull up a chair and supervise.

On my trips to and from Marquette to buy new chain saw chains, etc., I bought two Eminem CDs……..MAN, I didn’t expect what I heard. I know 8-Mile, hell I lived it too only I was deeper in at 6 Mile in a scrap yard, no mamby pamby auto factory like the move……..But still I didn’t expect the honesty and truth I heard from the dude. Once one gets past the vulgarity (which for me because of the scrap yard was a no-brainer) there’s a lot of heartfelt stuff in that rap. Unexpected.

My niece loaned me her digital camera and I didn’t expect it to function so well or to be hooked on the ease of use. Now, I am primed to buy one so I can snap off photos at will. Was damn glad I had it to chronicle the flooding and I have provided my photos to the newspaper I work for…I’ve had plenty of my photos published before but it’s been awhile. Only thing is Mr. Newsman here was taking photos for himself not knowing I should have increased the resolution so they could print. I wasn’t even thinking of giving them to the newspaper until I returned home. That was an unexpected bonehead move by The Vinman. And I didn’t expect how easy it would be to download the photos when I got back. Bing, boom, presto, there they were first thing Tuesday about 15 minutes after I got into my office.

Last but not least, tonight I think I have found the most unexpected bowl I’ve ever purchased (not that I’ve bought many). If my E-Bay bid comes through (I’ve set a good high price on it), I’ll write more about it. But The Vinman wants to keep it to himself right now so the millions of readers to VV (hah, hah) don’t jump in on it and steal it.

And I’ve added a couple of sites to my bloglist unexpectedly, too. VermilionX- House of Ill Refute and Bohemian Mama are two women who write with different styles on different topics but with equally talented finesse. Unexpected finds — like gold in the side of a mountain.

I’m a lucky man to be living in such times.

Like wild dreams, unexpected new friendships, unexpected finds, vibes that make us fanciful and free, the unexpected can be sublime. But one has to learn to go with it and breath in every minute. Because if one is looking the other way in a stressful direction it’s easy to miss.

May something unexpectedly good happen to you tonight, tomorrow and every day.

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