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  • Jane Wheeler

Square Tires

I am driving down the road and it is a balmy minus 31, the car has had to warm up for 20 minutes, the gas gauge is moving down quite quickly. Even with the 20 minute warm up it is still pretty frosty in the car, not all the windows are thawed yet. I put the car into drive and settle in for the lumpy, bumpy ride that is about to come; square tires.

Unless you have ever experienced square tires, and truly it is a unique northern phenomenon, you cannot really relate. The lumps and bumps last only a kilometer or two and then the tires gradually return to the round posture they normally are. It only happens when the temperature is below minus 30.

How do round tires drive when they are square? Much like a Fred Flintstones ride I imagine, but in our linear minds, where things have to make sense, how do square tires even roll?

The sky is a beautiful shade of baby blue, cloudless save the exhaust of people’s furnaces and vehicles shooting straight up into the sky. The sun is rising higher into the sky and I think, I really am fortunate to live here, so many people are feeling sorry for us because it is so cold. When the sun is shining the whole day looks brighter, even at minus 31. I’m not shoveling, my power is on, and it looks gorgeous out the window.


I looked at the pictures from New York with its 5 foot dump of snow and was glad I do not live there. I looked at the Atlantic and the storms they got and more headed that way and am glad I do not live there. Is there anywhere that is “good” to live?

I am truly not sure anymore. Since the kids are grown up and gone, I always figured I could go and live wherever I wanted and the more I studied what I wanted, the more I could not figure out where that was.

Trouble is, every place has extreme weather, so if I base where I want to live on weather, it’s not looking good.


Yesterday I had one of those days – lucky to be alive.

I headed into town, a 20 minute drive, within ½ a kilometer on the highway there are 2 very large dead moose laying there very close to each other. I think, wow, I am glad I did not have those fellows run out in front of me.

I get to town and realize the car is making some kind of whining, crunching, loud and embarrassing sound. I finally park the car and call my boys to come and have a look at it. They drive it around, I drive it around, we call my hubby. Consensus is it is something with the brakes. They tell me to drive it home carefully, keep watch in case the brake gets too hot and it could start a fire. Great!

So I begin the drive home, the car squeaking and whining all the way. I get about ½ way and turn off to go look at the tire in case smoke signals are coming out and I can’t see them. Looks good and off I go. I get 2 kilometers and a loaded flat deck semi is turning onto the highway beside but in front of me. His trailer starts to turn sideways and I realize he has cut the corner too sharp and it has gone up onto the big pile of snow/ice beside the highway. The trailer rights itself with a bang and a hop and a large wooden crate hops off the trailer and flys through the air and lands down into the lane beside me. It bounces and proceeds to smashes into pieces and out of it comes a large black motor of some kind, again bouncing and coming right for me. The little car in front of me swerves safely out of the way. I see it coming and hit the brakes and quickly maneuver and swerve successfully out of the way.

I look in the rear view mirror and see a pickup truck pull sideways across the highway blocking traffic from hitting the mess now scattered on the highway. The semi is backing up to go and see what damage has been done.

I am breathing hard and my heart if racing but am thankful God gave me the reflexes and the angels to push me to avoid that mess. I go not even a kilometer up the highway and WOOOH, there is a 4 x 4 foot plate of metal with a curled up corner on one end sitting right in my lane. Gasping I yanked the wheel the other way and totally thankful there was no one beside me. Made it past that one, but now I am like what on earth is going on.

Later on in my reflection, I figure that the plate was across from the 2 dead moose over on the other side of the divided highway. Whatever semi that hit those, must have lost a piece of something.

I was never gladder to get home in my life, the gauntlet had been run and I survived.

Perspective. I drove to town and back OR I drove through an obstacle course and survived.

Both true, both accurate. Square tires, round tires, both accurate. Much like life – we can have a bad day or a bad start, a little bumpy, like square tires, but it does not have to ruin the entire day. Stuff comes at us in the form of things (motors), disease, people, jobs and they appear out of nowhere and it can wreck our day, our week, our year (we think) or we can dig in deeper, think more creatively and find another way of looking at it. There is a positive in that negative somewhere. The choice is going to depend on us and our perspective.

I have a dear friend recently diagnosed with cancer, she is thinking a lot of things but after the initial shock and fear, she has come to trusting God for the outcome. She calls it a “first class lesson in trusting God and my belief system…. I didn't believe He wanted the best for me. I simply didn't see it in my life. But as I have gotten older and gone through some very difficult things. I have glimpsed at His goodness to me and protection when things could have gone sideways so badly and they didn't because of His love and intervention in my life and the situations I was in. He has used those things for good and for my growth.”


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