lessons learned:  what tunnels can teach us about awareness
lessons learned: what tunnels can teach us about awareness

lessons learned: what tunnels can teach us about awareness

Let us not look back in anger or forward in fear, but around in awareness.

~James Thurber

Over the weekend, my daughter and I had the opportunity to drive on the Blue Ridge Parkway.   We traveled through a section with several tunnels that cut through thick, old mountains.  As we approached each one, my child would ask, “Is this the long tunnel?”  We wouldn’t know, however, until we were inside in the dark and unable to detect light from either end.

Even with headlights, being in the middle of a long, unlit tunnel can be a bit unnerving.  You drive a bit more cautiously.  You await an approaching vehicle or a shaft of light indicating you are almost to the end.

You are aware.

You are not concerned with what you left behind you at the entrance, and you can’t know what waits for you upon exit.  You simply live in the moment with a heightened sense of who and where you are in that space at that time.

May we all live in the day-to-day with that awareness of who and where we are on this journey.


  1. Thank you, Cameron. Another lovely metaphor from your sensitive observation of the world around you.

    The Blue Ridge Parkway brings back a childhood memory of my dad. A 1960s family vacation found us on the Skyline Drive, winding through some of the most beautiful countryside in America. At one scenic overlook, Pop pointed out a pig farm down in the distant valley. In the sunshine and crisp fall air, a slight breeze brought further evidence of the pigs to our noses … and it was a good, earthy smell, full of the farming life below.

    It was late evening by the time we reached the northern end of the Skyline Drive in Front Royal, Virginia. We hadn’t planned ahead very well, with only a bag of butterscotch candy in the car. We were all very hungry by the time we found a restaurant. I’d never seen grilled pineapple on ham before. Pop had a huge Black Angus steak, but he talked about his baked potato rubbed with rock salt for years after the trip.

    It’s odd how some things stick in a six-year-old’s memory for the rest of his life. My guess is that your daughter will remember the drive along the Blue Ridge Parkway with her mom–and how the tunnels made her feel–for the rest of her life.

    All the best,

  2. Pingback: A Skyline Drive Memory | Rob Mahan Books

  3. Great perspective! I love driving it with my children and wife, earlier this year we were near the 2,000 foot pull of I think and up comes a black bear! we froze, and it sniffed the retaining wall and went back down the hill : )

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