‘Real World’: Nature’s power forces us to consider—options


(THIS WEEK, we welcome veteran communicator Terry Gallagher. Here is Part 2 of Terry’s thought-provoking series on the natural world.)

https://readthespirit.com/ourvalues/wp-content/uploads/sites/17/2013/03/wpid-dc_ov_waves_in_Great_Lakes.jpg“The Lake is the Boss”

This week, we’re looking at the real world, not the ersatz one of pettiness and meanness we find in our work lives, but the real real world, the one made up of air, water, earth, plants, animals and sunshine. Many of us taking vacations at this time of year find peace and reflection out in nature.

But it would be wrong to think of the natural world as simple, uncomplicated, unchallenging, benign.

A couple of years ago, I went kayaking with a group of Boy Scouts in the Apostle Islands, an archipelago in the western part of Lake Superior, the northernmost point of Wisconsin. It was a little choppy in the bay when the outfitter dropped us off, but she assured us it was safe: “You’ll be just like a bar of soap bobbing on the surface!”

But the weather changed for the worse in the hour it took us to load the kayaks and start paddling, and when we got out of the protected bay, we were literally in over our heads, with two miles of open water to go. With waves going three or four feet, we could only see the other boats when we crested the swells, and water washed over the boats when we were in the troughs.

Scary stuff!

Later that week, we stopped in the park’s visitor center and watched the video where one old-timer was shown repeating a local mantra, “The lake is the boss.”

There’s a thing they warn you about when you take off on one of these adventures: Take extra chow in case you become “wavebound.”  You’re wavebound when the water is too rough for you to leave the island you’re on.

Since then I’ve found analogies to that in other parts of my life, and I bet you have, too. There are times in the real world when we have to yield, to surrender our willfulness and autonomy, to recognize that the lake is the boss.

When have you found yourself wavebound?

How did you respond?

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ABOUT TERRY GALLAGHER: After working more than 20 years in higher education, Terry Gallagher is exploring new ways to use media and messages to build stronger institutions and communities.  Most recently, he has joined the board and helped launch communications efforts at the InterFaith Leadership Council of Metropolitan Detroit, a new group with a long history.

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