Driving in Cape Coral, especially during the winter, can be an interesting experience. We have drivers from all over the country and around the world. This time of year the roads are crowded!

Not long ago, I was running errands. I had been to the gym, stopped at a local shop to buy Roscoe and Smudge’s  treats and was on my way to the next stop. My holiday music played, the sun was bright, and the decorations lined the street.

As I sat in line to make a right turn onto a busy parkway I noticed a tall egret standing on the sidewalk watching the traffic. I heard someone beep. I cringed when I realized it was the SUV directly behind me insisting the car in front of me make the right turn onto the busy street. The car inched up. I held my breath hoping the driver had the skills to judge the speed of oncoming traffic. The beeping continued. The car in front of me sped out and made the turn. My frustration morphed to anger. I was next in line. People in the two lanes to my left were turning their heads to see what all the commotion was about. The SUV kept beeping. I decided to move forward, but not make the turn. Since 2003 I’ve lived by  my road mantra: I’m not going to put my life in danger because you’re in a hurry.  When I looked up, there was the egret. She was standing directly in front of my car staring at me. I couldn’t move or I’d hit her. Amidst the beeping, the holiday music, and my fuming nerves, there was the majestic egret peering over my bumper as if she was telling me to stay put. Then she casually walked to my door, capturing everyone’s attention except the extremely annoying beeping SUV behind me.

The light changed. I made the turn. I watched to see if the SUV took off toward an emergency. They didn’t. They drove slowly down the parkway which left me questioning why the right turn on red was so important it was worth risking lives.

The incident had brought me from calm to frustrated, to fuming, to amazed, to confused, all in a matter of minutes. I realized I had a choice. I could replay the event over and over in my mind reliving the anger I’d felt or I could return to peace. In times of great stress, peace is always accessible. It waits like the egret in front of my car, staring, challenging us to see it: to focus on peace when chaos swirls.

“Nothing can bring you peace but yourself.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

I rolled down my window, turned up Mariah Carey’s All I Want For Christmas and belted the lyrics all the way to my next stop.

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