Caring Enough to Face Fear

Carol A. Hand


To say I hate driving is not quite true

But it’s no longer something I like to do

Yet here I am, every other Saturday morning

turning onto the entrance ramp in second gear

right foot pressing the accelerator as I climb the incline

gaining speed, shifting to third then fourth

merging with traffic on the interstate south

shifting to fifth as I gain matching speed

“Breathe, swallow,” I remind myself

as the familiar sensation comes, my ears filling with fluid

with the thinning atmosphere on my winding ascent

I feel like I’m under water as I travel ever higher

up the rising ridge of the highway that bounds my city neighborhood

I watch the road ahead, knowing if I peer at the scenes to the east, below

dizziness will wash over me

Breathe, swallow, drive onward, watch the road,” I chant

There are colleagues and students waiting


The Descent to Duluth - January 1, 2016
The Descent to Duluth
– January 1, 2016


“Now’s not the time to worry about the drive home,”

the even steeper descent, the city and lake panorama below

the highway sign sometimes flashing

Caution, slippery road ahead or Be prepared to stop, crash ahead

Breathe, swallow, drive onward, watch the road,

There are colleagues and students waiting


(8 – AR.Drone | Enger Park Aerial View | Duluth, MN)

Acknowledgment: This poem is a love story of a different sort than the one that inspired me last evening. I was reminded of the many North-country snowstorms and ice-storms I’ve driven through during my career when I read Annika Perry’s “The Whiteout Years.” It’s one of the most beautiful love stories I’ve ever read. I hope you will visit her lovely site, Annika Perry’s Writing Blog , and take time to read this story and others. It will be time well-spent.


30 thoughts on “Caring Enough to Face Fear

    1. Ah, driving across the “white-knuckle” high bridge is never easy for me, Trace, even in the best weather. I can only imagine your emotions. I’m so grateful you arrived safely on the other side. ❤

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for your comments, Rosaliene. It didn’t occur to me until I read your comment. This really is a metaphor for these times as we head down a slippery slope toward an unknown destination.


    1. A great image, Maria. I really have driven vehicles in the past that fit that description. One, a tiny Toyota Tercel, actually survived repeated hits from the crazed driver of a huge Peterbilt tractor-trailer I guess he was impatient with backed-up traffic and was just having a very bad day. My car was in his way so he tried to push it into the semi in front of me to get ahead. ? Funny thing, my tiny car was still drive-able while his truck needed to be towed. It’s one of the reasons I really don’t like to drive now…

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Oh, gosh! Accidents are so unpleasant and do leave footprints in the memory! I guess horses were better in the past. No matter a trip as longer, they were at least alive. A car is still an odd artificial object. I don’t mind them for they help us a lot, but I prefer to avoid myself.)))

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for your kindness, Diane. I hope you are doing well despite all of the California Rain!

      It’s been a strange winter here, too. On class-day, Saturday 2/18, the temperature was 53 F, unheard of here in February. Today it’s 43, with the possibility of lower temperatures and snow later this week.

      Even so, there are little miracles. This morning, I discovered a tiny viola in bloom in my yard. I waited rather impatiently for my granddaughter to awake so I could show it to her.

      These days, I listen to my instincts before I hit the road. I didn’t always have the luxury of doing so in the past…

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thanks for your good wishes. I’ve been soaked to the skin a few times and had to change some of my routes but I’ve been lucky, no real problem right here. And the hills are so green – hiking is a great temptation but there’s a lot of mud and washouts!

        Liked by 1 person

  1. Love your poem. Driving in the dark in the country is the hardest for me because I see very little, and have to concentrate all my senses very hard :). You might know our roads. When a big truck is driving in the opposite direction, there is very little space between us 🙂 Very often I want to give up, take the first exit, find a parking spot and sleep in the car until morning 🙂 Never happened yet, I always get home. We can do a lot of things when we concentrate all our tiny powers on our task 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much for sharing your stories about driving, Inese, and for sharing your wise insights and humor. It does come down to concentrating all my “tiny powers” on the task of driving, and like you, I always get home. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. such a dear bell
    of mindfulness
    that you’re in the car
    and knowing why
    & where you’re going!
    i think i was following
    behind at some point
    and that driving
    seemed excellent 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ah, kind words, David. I am the ultimate defensive driver. You’d have to be willing to go the speed limit if you follow, not because it’s the law, but because it’s wise not to exceed what can be safely managed when confronted by drivers who aren’t mindfully driving. 🙂


  3. You captured my feelings about driving….I do it but if I did not I would prefer to ride my bike or walk…It does seem like a duty at times. It gets us places to be a part of a larger world. I could stay in my small world but there are times I have to go:-) jobs to do:-)
    You are so talented:-)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for voicing your shared dislike of driving, Robbie. I wish there were alternatives to my Saturday drives, especially on snowy days, but there’s no public transportation from here to the tribal and community college campus where I teach. Fortunately, my drive today was on clear roads and no signs were flashing on the hilly descent. 🙂


  4. Thank you for the reading recommendation, more wonderful and inspiring blog reading is always appreciated. The ride sounds harrowing for sure, and stick shift nonetheless. My husband keeps trying to convince me to learn saying he will teach me. I’m hesitant though. You are brave my blogger friend. All the best to you. ✌🏽✌🏽

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for your thoughtful comments, Marahu. Annika is such a gifted writer and storyteller.

      I actually prefer to drive cars with manual transmissions – it makes me feel as though I have more control. I can slow down without brakes, a good thing on icy roads. But it’s a drag to drive up steep hills filled with stop signs, especially when the streets are wet. But I have almost always driven stick-shift vehicles. Automatic cars are dangerous for me. It’s a habit for me to use my left “clutch” foot whenever I slow down. That doesn’t work well when you push the brake all the way to the floor. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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