TigerBlog was digging out for about four hours yesterday, trying to figure out how it was possible to have two major blizzards come four days apart and leave Central New Jersey with about 40 inches of snow.
Seriously, TigerBlog kept thinking. How awful is this? So much snow. Nowhere to put it all. TB kept having to carry it further and further away from the driveway just to make any progress. And then there were the 10-pound chunks of ice that had to be carried, because they were too big for the shovel. And of course, TB did snap one plastic shovel in half.
On and on it went. It seemed like it would be endless. And the whole time, TB kept thinking about how much he hated what he was doing.
And then, after awhile, he got past that and went down a different path. He was outside, in the fresh air. Kids were running by with sleds. The snow itself was in many ways very still, very peaceful. And of course, summer isn't that far away.
Around the same time, TigerBlog thought of Lorin Maurer.
And then TB remembered something very important: Value the moment.
Today is the one-year anniversary of when Lorin Maurer was killed in the crash of Continental Connection Flight 3407, along with 48 others on the plane and one on the ground. Lorin, for those who don't know, worked in athletic fundraising and development here at Princeton.
Since the crash, much has been learned about the actions of the pilots, as well as the aviation industry's rules and regulations regarding smaller carriers. It's easy now to point the finger at the co-pilot and especially the pilot, but keep in mind that they paid the same price as everyone else on the plane.
In the year that has followed, the families of those killed - especially Lorin's father Scott and boyfriend Kevin Kuwik - have been very active in trying to get the federal government to change the policies that allowed underpaid, questionably trained, overworked pilots to be at the control of that flight. Much more information can be found at the group's website: www.3407memorial.com.
Hopefully, the work of these people will result in changes that prevent a similar crash from happening again. Still, that's not what this anniversary is about.
No, today is about the people who were lost. They came from very different backgrounds, and they included a writer, a women's hockey player, a musician, a 9/11 widow and many others, including our friend Lorin.
She was 30 when she died, far too young of course. At the same time, she packed a lot into her 30 years: a college athlete, a scholar, a graduate degree, a career, plenty of friends, close family, world travel, concerts, parties, sporting events and in the year before her death love.
TigerBlog still has emails that Lorin sent him; TB has her cell phone number still on his list of contacts.
He remembers vividly her smile, her laugh, her face, her personality, how alive she was. He remembers how much everyone liked her, how easy it was to like her.
He remembers the shock of learning that she was gone, that feeling of disbelief. TB had been in a meeting with Lorin the day of her death, and she had walked past his office and flashed her usual silent smile on her way out of the building.
TigerBlog thought back to that face while he was shoveling the snow, and it was that face that gave the moment its perspective.
Lorin certainly didn't waste her moments, her opportunities. She would have found a reason to smile at the snow more than grimace at the shoveling.
There'll be a moment of silence in Lorin's memory at the men's basketball game against Columbia tonight. At the end, fans will be asked to rise and remember Lorin. Among those who do so will be people who graduated in the '60s, the '50s, the '40s even, people who were given more than twice as much time and in some cases three times as much time as Lorin Maurer.
And you don't know which group you're going to be in. Are you going to be an old-timer? Are you going to be taken too soon? Who can say? For that matter, who can say why, even?
So enjoy the moment. Every moment. Don't waste it.
If 20 inches of snow come your way, don't think of the effort to shovel it. Think instead of the beauty or the people around you or the coming of much warmer days.
Lorin Maurer would definitely have done so.
Yesterday, one day short of one year after she left this Earth, Lorin made TigerBlog do so as well.