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© 2012 Kebba Buckley Button.  World Rights Reserved.

Photo by Kebba Buckley Button

East of Tucson, where the Santa Catalina Mountains meet the Rincon Mountains, there is a beautiful area called Redington Pass.  In season, water rushes over the rocks at the Tanque Verde Falls there.  In dry times, the boulders at the Falls have a smooth, eery beauty, shaped by the erosive power of the seasonal flows.  Hiking in this area is very popular, but the trails are hazardous, due to a type of rock that crumbles easily underfoot.  A woman arrived at the top of the dry Falls with a new companion who insisted they climb down the dry rocks of the Falls.  She asked, “but won’t we have trouble getting back over these huge, smooth boulders?”  Her companion insisted it would be fine.  At dusk, they were trapped adjacent to a 300-foot chasm, unable to reverse their downslope climb.  The companion leaped across the chasm to catch a fire hose that was bolted to the opposite side.  The woman climbed out using ½-inch ledges that, the week before, she would not have believed could save her.  The next week, she read that a hiker had died at Redington Pass, because the trail fell away from under his steps.  Someone had died where the woman did what she would have thought she could not.

On April 2, John and Helen Collins were flying back home to Wisconsin from Florida in their twin-engine Cessna.  John, 81, owned several planes and was the knowledgeable pilot.  Helen, 80, was an experienced passenger, having travelled with John for decades.  Helen was recovering from heart surgery and had very little stamina.  Six miles from their destination, John had a heart attack and passed out, over the controls.  Helen contacted the Sheriff’s Department for help.  A local pilot flew up to the Collins’s plane to give Helen radio instructions so she could land the Cessna.  With help, she did what she was unable to do the day before:  she landed the plane.  She sustained only bruises.  See the nearly intact plane in the MSNBC report:  http://usnews.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2012/04/03/11001564-80-year-old-woman-lands-plane-after-husband-passes-out .

Recently, on an idyllic beach on the coast of Brazil, dozens of people were sunning, relaxing, and swimming.  The day was easygoing and calm.  Suddenly, lumps appeared in the inbound surf.  As they got closer, it became clear that there were about 30 of them.  People started walking to the water’s edge to stare in disbelief.  It was a group of creatures swimming vigorously toward the shore.  They were actually dolphins, headed the wrong way.  Beached, they would not survive.  The people watching quickly began to experiment with ways to help.  The first tried grasping a dolphin by its fins, pulling it back toward the surf.  Others saw it was difficult to grip the fins and pull the dolphin, so they tried grasping the tails of other dolphins.  Soon, a number of compassionate humans were grasping dolphins and turning them back into the surf.  The redirected dolphins then raced away in exactly the direction they had come from, toward deep waters.  The day before, would any of these people have thought they would know how to help save a group of dolphins?  They had no experience with redirecting confused dolphins.  Yet, out of concern for creatures in distress, this group of people promptly pitched in and experimented, successfully saving all of these dolphins.  A video shows how quickly and completely this rescue took place:   http://elcomercio.pe/player/1384898.

What these three stories have in common is that the people came up with solutions when urgent needs arose.  The day before each scene, they would not have said they had these skills.  They might have laughed if someone had said, “Do you think you would ever…?”  Yet they did what they could not.  Whether you believe this was entirely human creativity or whether you see the Divine in these stories, ask yourself:  in what areas of life have you been thinking you “can’t?”  Make some notes for yourself about areas of life you wish were different, but you believe you can’t change.  Then think of the people who “couldn’t” but did.  Pick something from your list and consider stepping up.  It’s your life.  You are the only one who can live it.


— Your comments welcome! —

Reach the writer at kebba@kebba.com .