The North Fork Snoqualmie River originates on the western slopes of the Cascade Mountains in Washington state. This time of year the water comes largely from melting snow. I dove into a crystal- clear pool on the river, which felt like diving into . . . well, recently melted snow. The cells in my body immediately woke up . . . all thirty-seven trillion of them. And they collectively said to one another: let’s get out of this water – now!
Various things in life act as a wakeup call. Sometimes we really need them. Walking up twelve steps and feeling like you’ve gone halfway up Everest: time to see either a doctor or nutrition specialist. Having to frequently ask people to repeat what they said; a visit to the audiologist is in order. Amassing tens of thousands of dollars in credit card charges: some kind of drastic action is needed. People shunning you because you’re negative and judgmental about almost everything: some purposeful counseling should be sought. In spite of intentions, you can’t seem to get through a day without unhealthy amounts of alcohol: seeking professional help needs be considered.
It might be a cold water shock or perhaps a soft tap on the shoulder. But when we hear the alarm bell ringing, prudence says one ought to listen. Of course, listening is a fruitless exercise unless it leads to action. Most often there are a variety of action alternatives, but the surest way to maintain the status quo is to do nothing. And maintaining the status quo often means going from bad to worse.
Staying in too cold water too long can lead to hyperthermia . . . which can lead to death. Hence, the wisdom of listening to the wakeup calls in one’s life.