At any rate, since I use fresh garlic, this means I regularly confront la cáscara del ajo - the "skin," or "shell," that surrounds each separate garlic clove.
Sometimes, the shell of the garlic comes off easily. A little bit of crushing pressure, a twist, and voilà! "La cáscara" pops right open. If that trick doesn't work, I might use a sharp knife to slice at the base of the clove. Then, it's often easy to peel off that outer skin.
Sometimes, though, it just isn't that easy to get rid of that outer covering. If the shell around a garlic clove doesn't just pop right off, it can be painstakingly difficult to utilize fingernails and a knife blade to peel back that pertinacious and protective layer of skin.
There is one good thing about that. When "la cáscara" doesn't pop right off, I find I have time to reflect, both on the task at hand and on larger questions. I tend to think by way of metaphor - as in using that phrase, "Tapping The Brakes," to suggest that we are going WAY too fast, as a society, and that we need to slow down, or stop, and that we perhaps even need to change direction entirely.
Thinking about getting to the clove inside "la cáscara," I found myself deciding that the whole process is a kind of metaphor for how life goes in general. Sometimes, it's easy. Obstacles just "pop right off," with a little twist and some well-applied pressure. But sometimes, things don't go that way. When things don't go easy - and they're not going easy for anyone, right now, as far as I can tell - we just need to calm our impatience, relax, and work at it. As I struggle to peel away those clinging shreds of the garlic skin, I have to tell myself, painstakingly and infuriatingly slow as it may be, that I will eventually get to where I have to go.
End of metaphor! Pretty good advice!