Somewhere, thousands of miles to the south, there are political things happening. In my world, though, it’s still dark. I wake, wash, pray, then head to work at 4am, dodging moose on the way. The snow has been heavy this year and they’ve sought shelter in the city, looking for food. They munch on leaves left on trees and bushes near roads, their dark hulking bodies hard to spot in the pre-dawn darkness.
It’s cold and dark, the world waiting for dawn and for spring and the inevitable melting that will allow these big creatures to retreat back to the mountains and forests. For now, though, we share an uneasy coexistence, working around each other, both a little wary of the other.
Somewhere, thousands of miles away, women are on strike while other women argue they shouldn’t be. Here, far removed, I’m sure some women will also participate in each. In my world, though, it seems far removed. You learn patience waiting for moose to move. More people die each year from moose tramplings than bear attacks. It’s not that moose are angry and chaotic by nature. They just don’t like being pressured by humans. They have their own plans and schedules and most people get into trouble when they try to make a moose move or show up unexpectedly where a moose wasn’t expecting them. If a moose is in your driveway between you and your car, that just means it’s time to find something else to do until the moose moves on. You learn there’s really nothing important enough it can’t wait until the moose is ready to move.
In our modern lives, it’s easy to lose perspective. Small things can easily loom large in our minds both because we forget how short our lives are and also because we forget how short a moment is. Every feeling passes, like the moose. Every problem also eventually passes, like the moose. Change, however, also often happens a lot more slowly than we’d prefer, especially big changes. It’s easy to scare a deer into flight and get them to run out of your way. Moose? They move when they want to or not at all. Being that big has its privileges.
It’s not that I don’t relate to both sides of the issues that women will be discussing today. I do. It’s just that I don’t think that taking a day off work is going to move a moose in either direction. I do, however, have faith that G-d will move the moose when it’s time and in the direction it should go. In the meantime, I’m going to drink my coffee and concentrate on the things that have been given to me to make better, the places where I can move things. I can certainly make my home a better place for my family. I can certainly work on myself, being a better person, a better wife, and a better mother. I can try to be a positive influence at work and bring a little light in my friendships. The things I have the most impact on are those closest to me and by focusing on those, I’m neither frustrated at the pace at which the moose moves nor tempted to try to rush the moose and put myself in danger.
Besides, I love living in a place where there are moose to work around, just as I love a world in which we aren’t all the same. Life would be far less interesting without either.