My nephew Jason is now in his thirties. When he was a small boy, he delighted in pelting me with snowballs. His aim was great, he rarely missed, and I soon recognized that where snowballs were concerned this mere child surpassed me by a mile. My solution was this: I would simply respond, “One day, Jason, when you least expect it . . .” On occasion I would remind him of my promise and once sent him a virtual snowball thanks to my computer. Yet I never really delivered. Last summer while attending Jason’s wedding I considered having the bartender shave up some ice, rolling it into a ball and letting Jason have it right there in front of God and everybody. But I didn’t. Instead when a private moment presented itself, I told him of my plan. He smiled, nodded, and said, “That would have been good.” Point made for the aunty in the style of counting coup.
And there is something about events that occur with the impact of an unexpected snowball that opens up the earth and like Alice in Wonderland we are falling down the rabbit hole. Next thing you know, we are in a completely different frame of reference, often asking how we got there and stunned at what is going on. I’m sure you have plenty of examples of this in your own life just I have in mine. It may be a business opportunity, a subpoena, the receipt of a most perfect gift – each one arriving with no advance warning and seeming to come out of nowhere. We then find ourselves having to reframe everything on the spot. It’s as though Alice’s White Rabbit is tapping his watch and prodding, “Oh, my ears and whiskers, how late it’s getting!” We’re talking about real change, real fast.