Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Practicing Perfection

    Drill Night. One more demand in a tight schedule, but one I never begrudge. The orderliness of the station, the spotless engines, the camaraderie of the crew. It is soothing to nerves frayed to breaking in my life in the real world. Rig checks, donning gear, drilling with hoses and hydrant, bring order to the chaos in my mind. We don turnouts and SCBAs over and over, practicing, perfecting the moves, committing the act to muscle memory so that when a call comes in and tones drop we are not slowed or rattled by the inevitable spurt of adrenaline. Then we move on to the hydrant. Pull hose, port, and hydrant wrench from the bed of the engine, hop down, race to the hydrant, triple port the hydrant, attach hose, crank open the valve. We are timed. So even as we strive for perfection we are shaving seconds off of our last time. We must be perfect, and fast. The repetition is calming. Practicing perfection has a meditative quality that soothes my soul, releases me from the choke hold of stress that had plagued me throughout my day. I am calm. I am tired. I have returned to center.

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