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Flooding Waters

May 13, 2015
Photo by Jasper van der Meij.
Photo by Jasper van der Meij.

Some days the waters flood no matter your good intentions or headspace. With 75,000 more words to read through in my last look at the Be Audacious book before it comes out, I decided to shake things up a bit. Though I never thought I would be one of those writers who could uncover a productive and consistent flow amidst the hustle and bustle of a busy coffee shop, it’s the place I found my groove. Over the course of six months, I wrote 90% of my 90,000 word manuscript from my perch at Bozeman’s audacious Sola Café.

Being a creature of habit, I’m not one to mess with something good, so each morning I venture to my office, where my only rent is a $3 charge for the tea bar and a generous tip. But today, gearing up for a trip to Wyoming for a keynote tomorrow, and fighting shoulder and neck pain that has come with a calendar year of sitting over the laptop in a place where the vibe is strong, but ergonomics lacking, I opted to work from home.

Within minutes of my sitting down with my manuscript I heard the sprinklers go on in the backyard for the first time this spring and decided to take a look. Each sprinkler head seemed to be firing fine, but the landscaped area (where Amanda and I recently planted two new native grasses) was flooding like hell. Quickly, I raced out the door and began digging around in hopes of finding the leak, which I quickly did. Water was shooting out a nail-sized hole at a remarkable rate. For ten minutes, in the winter-like temperatures and raging winds, I stood, jacketless and in my favorite shoes, attempting to plug the hole and save the grasses we had proudly labored over two weeks ago.

What’s the point of this story, you might ask? It’s twofold. One, inspect before you dig. We had no idea a waterline ran through this part of our backyard. Two, and most importantly, there’s no planning for the unexpected. Okay (I know you’re still wondering), so here’s my metaphor for the day: no matter how badly we wish to stop the flood waters during times of despair, depression or heartache, the water will likely keep surging. We must simply weather the storm knowing it will eventually cease, as it always does. Then we get proactive and call the landscaper to begin the reclamation project.

In many ways life is one big reclamation project. Big or small, there are always fires to put out, leaky waterlines to patch and clogged sinks to unclog. While none of us want to deal with the unexpected crisis, we become more durable, resilient and adaptable when we do. This is essential, for, like our little garden for which we have such high hopes, the only way to grow and transform another habitat—that within each of us that yields the most meaningful results—is to be willing to uncover and mend an occasional broken water line along the way.

~Michael W. Leach

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