UNM 2016: Watersheds

Since class doesn’t start until 2:o0 p.m., I had the morning to hit the road on my bike.  Beautiful riding country, in New Mexico.  I took Canyon Road out of Santa Fe and ran into this sign. Figuratively. It spoke to me.

watershedHave I mentioned that I’m all hopped up on altitude and anticipation, and I see portent in all things?  That’s actually my normal state, but the conference, the weather, the altitude — everything is conspiring to imbue the world with meaning.

Each raindrop’s future is largely determined by where it lands.  Not by hard work, or solid family values, or a present father.  Sure, those play a role in our hour on the stage, but have you ever considered how much of your life is driven by accidents of birth?  Skin color.  Religion.  Economic starting point. Then there’s one that’s hard to put into words:  your pool of opportunities and possibilities.

If you’re born into a mining town, son of a fourth generation miner, in a family with no college graduates, you just might consider a job in the mine a perfect goal.  Don’t get me wrong.  There is NOTHING wrong with that job, but I’d wager you didn’t consider many other opportunities, or you figured that even though you knew that college was a possibility, you could not imagine the path.

Barry Switzer (former University of Nebraska Football coach) said, “Some people are born on third base and go through life thinking they hit a triple.”  This is often attributed to former Texas Governor Ann Richards, who famously applied that wisdom to George Bush.

So what?

Maybe we can remember the watershed when tempted to blame others for their failings in life, or for actions we just can’t understand?  Maybe we can try to divert a few droplets into a more enjoyable stream?

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