Blotter Paper

pondsA favorite book is the true story of a couple heading into BC’s Chilcotin area in the 1930’s. There had been rampant trapping of the beaver in the early 1900’s and the Chilcotin was no different. In fact, there were no beavers left in that vast area.

What had once been a thriving land was dying of thirst.

Without the beaver to build and maintain their dams pond after pond dried up. Certainly the rains came as usual but without structure in place to ‘catch’ those rains they galloped down the hillside.

Farmers on the lower levels had to deal with either flooding or drought, and on the upper reaches cattle trying to reach water, would enter the boggy remnants of ponds, get mired down and would die.

What had once been fresh healthy water-ways and reservoirs had become cesspools of death and decay.

The beaver dams helped to hold back the waters in each pond, to create generous aquatic life and wildlife that flourished. Without ponds (lakes really) and their grasses there were no mink or otter. The larger animals of moose and bear went elsewhere.

The infrastructure of health and well-being had been disrupted. And it took some 20 years for the beaver and health of the land to be established once more through the determined and unending efforts of a man, his wife and son.

Like any come-back tale what took the longest time was the permeation of enough water back into the peaty bottom of the ponds. Before water could run from one pond to another pond and to yet another pond and ultimately to the farmers canals and irrigation ditches far downstream, it was necessary to drench the ‘blotter-paper’ so to speak, at the bottom of each pond.

Once the bottom of each pond was saturated, only then could the water level rise to a height that supported beaver and fish and all good things.

This then was the goal of each pond throughout the entire waterway. Shore up the leakage at the end of each pond, maintain the dams by hand for long enough until the waters began to fill back in, and until there was enough for beavers to return.

It is an amazing story of commitment and perseverance and of dogged determination and of a solid plan worked out day by day over years and years until success came.

I tell this story because it is such a picture of our lives and of our organizations and business’.

The ‘ponds’ of our lives, the elements of healthy living, the eco-structure required to get on with business is all a finely tuned interplay between its parts.

Leave one part to dry up, leave one dam to decay and destruction is the result.

Personally I am still in this process. The ‘ponds’ of my life and the chaos that reigned on various levels is still in process of being fixed, healed you might say.

But like anything here at Capturing Courage we take back the land of our lives day by day, task by task, relationship by relationship. With dogged focus and a good solid plan, anything can be rebuilt.

Anything can be built.

Our Capturing Courage team spent a weekend away together; looking at the year gone by and all of its movements and parts, and looking ahead at all of what is to come.

We are establishing our ponds, building our dams, shoring up the flow, establishing the run-off, with green things growing and life on all sides and are simply thankful.

I wonder what the ponds of our lives represent most? If you had five ponds that inter-played and depended on each other and upon which the health of your entire life rested, what might they be?

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