Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Well ... It Sounded Like a Good Idea at the Time

I'd be a wealthy retiree if I had $5 for every time I used the phrase:  "Well, it sounded like a good idea at the time." 

In looking back, I think I see where the trouble, folly mis-thinking, erroneous boldness, flaw formed; the headwaters of my particular penchant for segues.

While playing in mother's garden as a child, I dug a trench of some 10 or 12 feet.  No doubt my original intent was to make a row for planting something, but a foot into the project it began to curve this way, then that.  By the time my row was completed, it looked like a snake, or like one of Washington's many, winding rivers.   


I next hauled a length of hose to my newly formed crevasse and began to fill it with water.  (Everyone knows a river isn't truly a river without H20).  With diligence, my vision was not satisfied until I had filled the trough to the brim; crafted a dam or two; added some pebbles to the riverbed; then fixed a branch or leaf here-and-there to give it that lush overgrowth common to nature.   

As I labored & toiled, new thoughts began to form.  My visions grew large & larger.  My goldfish came to mind.


When I was sure the river was amply readied, I sneaked into the house to grab two very boring, unsuspecting Nemo-types.  Two minutes later my once-bound fish were free of their glass cage; totally  unfettered to swim the length & breadth of my newly formed habitat (begin humming "Born Free" now). 

At last I grew weary of excavation & fish husbandry, leaving both with some great notion to return shortly for a visit.

Shortly means different things to different people, especially people of roughly 4 years of age.

Whether it was two hours or two days, I cannot tell you.  But the story, as you have imagined, did not end well for the fish.  By the time I actually got back to my nature preserve, something very bad had happened.  The river had breached its banks, and what hadn't caved in had esaped out one end with nary a remaining trickle.  It was obvious the sun had slaked its thirst.

The fish, I now know, had been either buried alive, or deprived of water long enough to cause their expiration.  I didn't dig lest I be assaulted by a grim find.  But I still remember the stupor, then shame that claimed my here-to-fore exuberance.

Well ... It seemed like a good idea at the time.

All that to say, it didn't end there.  As I said in opening, I've had many a brainstorm that ended badly.  And if not badly, then not in ways I had hoped or planned.  Most were born in those same headwaters, the ones of my dirt digging, mud crafting childhood:  hopeful, enthusiastic, eager, creative, fun-loving or hope-filled.  (I own a few mean-spirited, not-so-nice-meant-to-be-hurtful ones too). 

Even so, I've learned as much - maybe more - from such flawed escapades than all of my sound routines combined.  That doesn't make them brilliant, or right, or worthwhile in/of themselves; just the raw ingredients for something more useful ... wisdom (AND, a few hysterically funny memories).

The men who try to do something and fail
are infinitely better than those who try to
do nothing and succeed. 
~Lloyd Jones

Failure sometimes enlarges the spirit. 
You have to fall back upon humanity and God. 
~ Charles Horton Cooley


Denise said...

You make me smile.

Just a little something from Judy said...

What this post has convinced me of, is that your clever and creative mind has been working for a long time. I smiled as I pictured adorable little you, digging and undertaking such a huge project, at four years of age. Oh, how I wish I could sit down and listen to your mother tell her version of stories about you. My mother's philosophy continues to resonate in my soul, "if at first you don't succeed, try, try again."

skoots1mom said...

aw, poor fishy, poor you...did you talk about it with your mother? bet she hugged you, if you did. your attempts to give little fishy some adventure was sweet, i think. best laid plans...sometimes differ in outcome.

Peggy said...

Your post gave me a little chuckle today. I can just see you digging that trench. it was a good idea at the time.

elaine @ peace for the journey said...

Jadon went through a trench digging phase. Thank goodness, no fish were surrendered in the process.

Too often, I squelch the creativity in my children. I need to dig a few more ditches, be brave and learn a few more things.

Great story, Sassy.


Cheryl Barker said...

Now you've got me singing Born Free :) Lesson learned, huh? :)