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Greg Davis

Magic Puddles
By Greg Davis
Mar 16, 2006 - 10:47:00 AM

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There are times I get tired of the rain. And where I live, it really doesnít rain that much. But Iím ready for some warmth. I know the ecological importance of rain. Donít need a science lesson. To make it through, I need something more. As I was reflecting (griping) about the rain, I remembered something that happened outside my classroom on ANOTHER rainy day.

Outside my classroom there was a magic puddle. No, this was not the kind Harry Potterís puppy left before he was house broken. (Sorry, that was bad.) This was a regular old rain puddle. I think it was magic because of the effect it had on these two boys. The two boys, heading for the Multi-Purpose Room came right up to this big puddle. It wasnít directly in their path. It could have been easily avoided, they didnít. I didnít expect them to. They didnít slow down, no mystery there. They splashed right through the center of this puddle, delighting in the experience. One boy had yellow rubber boots on the other didnít, but neither cared.

So here are some random thoughts about puddles put together to divert my attention from the rain and, just maybe, stop my complaining.

First, make a splash. If you are going to do something, commit yourself to it. Donít tip toe around it. Donít tip toe through it. Raise that foot in the air, rubber boots or not, and bring it down hard. Better yet, if you really want to make a splash, come down with both feet at the same time. Thatís commitment. And if youíre not committed, youíre not going to make much of a splash in anything you do.

What do you have to lose? You might get wet. Big whoop. You could slip and fall, and I guess there is a chance of serious injury there, stuff like that does happen. But usually all that gets hurt is your pride. The splash of that puddle could spatter others. Yes, in the real world with real water, that might be a problem. This is a metaphor so work with me. The splash you make in whatever you do may result in spreading some ideas around or encouragement or even hope.  Someone could see you taking the plunge and then go splash in their own puddle.

But be prepared. When you make a splash, there will always be someone who gets upset and will tell you to stop. Maybe they are too afraid to make a splash themselves or they donít see the magic (the possibilities) you see in that particular puddle. Maybe they slipped one day in a puddle and someone laughed at them. Ever since then, theyíve avoided puddles because they care too much about what others think. Splashes are messy and can leave you soggy and a little uncomfortable. Folks who have to stay neat and clean all the time have little tolerance for the messiness of creativity.

Second, the shortest distance between two points is a straight line. There you are on your journey from where you are to where you want to be. And there it is, right in front of you. You stop and look at it and you know in your gut there is something different about this puddle and itís not good. Itís just plain nasty. There is no getting around it. Your only option is to gut it up and walk through it.

Some things in life, no matter how hard we try, canít be avoided. They are cold, wet, often muddy, sticky, and smelly. Sometimes we canít tell how deep they are. But to get where you need to go, you have no choice but to go through them. These kinds of puddles usually seem big. They may not be as big or as deep as they appear to be. But when you are standing at the edge, you donít know that. All you know is that itís scary and it isnít going to be any fun.

Hopefully your life has been blessed with a friend to walk through the mess with you. If you donít have some people in your life that will walk through these nasty puddles with you, find one (some) ASAP. You never know when youíll turn that corner and right in front of you, will be that ďno getting around itĒ wet, nasty, mess. And if you walk through it with someone else, youíll get through it in much better shape.

Third, the shortest distance between two points is not always a straight line. (Weíre back to the good kind of puddles again). As you are traveling along that straight line from where you are and where you want to be, you notice, from the corner of your eye, the most interesting puddle youíve seen in your whole life. So you have a choice, you can keep on your straight line and spend your time getting to where ever it is you want to get thinking about that puddle and wondering ďwhat if . . . just maybeĒ. Or you can bend that line a little (or a lot) and jump in with both feet. That little detour might be just what you need to get you ready for where you were headed in the first place. The calculated detour with the impulsive puddle just might provide some missing skill or a much-needed insight. It could simply energize and refresh you.

(Sorry if this is beginning to sound like Philosophy 101. I didnít intend for this puddle metaphor to get this deep. Ouch, that was bad).

In a geometric sense, the puddle wasnít on the continuum of dots that constitute a line. However, real life can seldom be plotted in geometric terms and it is only in pausing to take a look back, that we gain perspective. Going ďout of the wayĒ may not have technically been the most direct path.

But with a backward glance at a later time you see how it fit.

Then there is the possibility, maybe even not so rare, you will encounter a puddle that will change the direction of your life. You just donít know. Iím not saying take a zigzag course to hit every puddle, unless you donít really care where you end up.

Alice said to the Cheshire cat,
'Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?'
'That depends a good deal on where you want to get to,' said the Cat.
'I don't much care where --' said Alice.
'Then it doesn't matter which way you go,' said the Cat.
'--So long as I get somewhere,' Alice added as an explanation.
(Lewis Carroll, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland)

So assuming you have a direction and you want to get some where by plan and not by chance, donít forget that there are some puddles, a few, that really shouldnít be missed. Your call.

So, after collecting these random thoughts in my cistern of consciousness, (did it again, absolutely shameless). Iím feeling a bit better about the rain. As I watch, even more of it comes down and collects in puddles of various shapes and depths, I just donít see rain. I see possibilities.

Greg Davis, E-mail: gregd101@earthlink.net


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