Approaching the tunnel, I call my husband who works just above the freeway at the Walker Art Institute. If he looks out the window at the right time, he could catch my car emerging from the other side of the Lowry Hill Tunnel, but the cars are barely moving. The exhaust fumes nearly suffocate me. The tunnel takes a turn, and I see the wall of snow that curves with the road and the gray winter sky. Relieved, I know I will not expire in this deadly urban soup.
I open my car windows as I exit the tunnel. The cool, crisp air and wet snow fill the car and revive me. This daily commute through downtown to the outer western suburbs has spawned a new resiliency in me, and I realize that all the drivers act as a audience for each other. In our frenzy to escape our homes and drive to the end of the road to a place called work, we forge a new identity. Hunters and gatherers equalized by a common struggle.
Winter highlights the human struggle by its weight and uncontrollable force. It pulls humans into the deepest place of self. Like circles of a tree’s growth, each winter another layer of self is exposed, past decisions and current hopes, fulfilled and unfulfilled dreams. The return of spring with its warmth and new life brings a change in perspective from an inner view to an outward view. There is a sense of completion and order. With that comes hope.