The irony of last week’s blog title, Caught Speeding, only dawned on me yesterday. It’s not the first time I’ve been caught this year. But it was an unexpected encounter with porcupine wisdom that made the lesson stick.
In January, while I was in Calgary for the motorcycle show, Mom’s cousin, who lived two hours away, perished in a fire in her apartment. I’d planned to visit her, but not at the funeral home. Returning through the Alberta prairie after the visitation, I got pulled over and ended up with a ticket for 1 km over the limit. (I was going much faster. He reduced the fine.) A gentle reminder to slow down.
Last month, on a gorgeous Virginia backroad and only twenty minutes from my Horizons Unlimited destination, I was travelling at 70-mph in a 55-mph zone. The friendly sheriff let me off with a warning to watch the driveways.
I do try and stick to the speed limit or ride with traffic. My last ticket was in 2008. I appealed it and it got thrown out after getting bogged down and timing out in the court system. It was definitely the first in a series of reminders to cut chaos from my life and realign with my priorities. Since then, other than a conversation at the side of the road one Mother’s Day, my record has been unblemished.
A shy and rarely-seen porcupine, who appeared on my birthday last week, added perspective. Hiking through a hardwood forest with a friend, the rustle of dry leaves a few feet away caught my attention. A big porcupine emerged and waddled away, unruffled by our presence. She began to climb a tree, reconsidered, and shuffled off to the next one. As she casually and with deliberation scaled the trunk, every once in a while, she’d glance in our direction, keeping an eye on her surroundings.
Porcupines take a leisurely but mindful approach to life, make the most of the present, and know that they are protected. They respect your space and model that you honor theirs. Barbs only come out when you violate their boundaries. The self-assured porcupine knows her limits, including the pace at which to travel through life. Porcupine wisdom is good for all of us.
Last week’s title carried more depth than I appreciated when I wrote it. Mirroring the frenetic energy of spring, there are many exciting new activities and opportunities coming to life. They’re all appealing but I have to allocate my resources—and attention—wisely.
Lessons are all around and often from unexpected sources. Thank you porcupine.