river of colored snow blobs
With the forecast of an incoming snowstorm and the promise of a power day, I headed to Tahoe to celebrate my friend's birthday. Finding myself in the situation where I wasn't sure who exactly was going to be there, I RSVP'd yes. Right before the weekend, I had some hesitations due to logistical challenges, but decided it would be nice to see some snow.
It turns out that I had met everyone who was there over the past two years. My friend and his wife, the couple hosting us, have this amazing ability to bring different people together, and make them feel like part of the family.
Like that light up tumbleweed, it's like vines of people and connections that gradually grow overtime and becoming more complex. Building connections.
Similar to how people "lean in" to different degrees, I find watching group dynamics really interesting. How individuals gravitate toward a role when there are different types of people around, and I find myself doing it as well. People who actively engage in activities. People who initiate activities. People who like to be told what to do. People who participate behind the scenes, but are crucial to make the whole operation work. The Watchers. The Doers. The Entertainers.
But regardless of the role, it was fascinating to see us all come together and work together.
We had such a diverse group of people - in terms of background, professions, age, ethnicities, dietary choices, and stages in life. What bound us together was the love for this couple, and our own desire for adventure.
I keep going back to envisioning people|souls as blobs. We are each our own blobs operating in our own worlds. Then we were brought together to celebrate, and thus the blobs mold around each other to fit into a cohesive piece.
The storm started late Saturday afternoon, and didn't let up until sometime Sunday. Taking advantage of the closed roads and blizzard outside, we all bundled up and went "snurfing" down the street. With two feet of fresh snow and more flurries coming down, there was no reason for us to stay inside.
Since the highway was closed due to zero visibility, we relished the continuous snowfall, made some breakfast burritos and warmed up some leftovers.
Fast forward a few relaxing hours, and we had to hit the road to get back to the city at a decent hour. Two cars had to get up a snow filled and ice slicked driveway, requiring all eight of blobs to come back together and participate in a combination of ongoing shoveling, collecting branches from trees for additional friction, physically pushing the car, and placing logs behind the wheels so that it wouldn't slip down the driveway. After an hour of our blobs dancing working together, the first 4WD car made it up and out of the driveway.
The second car made it up 2 minutes later.
We ended up driving into such a bad storm, the windshield wiper blades would freeze, and would gradually become useless. The visibility was so poor that we were only taking up two of the three lanes because it was safer to drive behind break lights than to be the first driver. Everyone was going 5 mph behind each other, patiently waiting for the car in front to move. The third lane ended up being an emergency lane, where cars would stop to remove ice from their windshields so they could see again. Bumper to bumper traffic for hours, and I didn't hear one horn honk.
It was as if people became nicer when they understood that we were all stuck in this together. The only way to get out of there was to work together. Let people merge because a car had just spun out after hitting some black ice. Let cars pull over to fix their chains. It was the first driving experience I've ever had that felt like everyone on the road - complete strangers - were working together and acting like a team. It was like this understood role and responsibility that everyone was clued in on. It felt fluid, like you would imagine it would feel like swimming in a school of fish.
And then once we made it down the mountain, the temperature increased and the snow melted, and everyone went on their merry way. I've heard the saying "race for survival", but it was a hopeful seeing that in this case it wasn't a race at all, and in fact racing would have made things even worse, more inefficient.
So I wonder what would happen if we all sort of lost our blob-selves in the moment. Stop focusing so much on our own world, and instead work together to help each other wade through the challenges that we together face today. Then, we will all make it safely on the other side where we can be are our own separate blobs again.
Reference: Tahoe Cabin Airbnb