[Homestead] Living in the ruts
genegerue at ruralize.com
Sun Jul 13 09:47:34 EDT 2008
LIVING IN THE RUTS
Decades of living with a steep, hard-to-maintain road have shown me
that most people stay in the ruts. A steep road with a single driving
path becomes a very rough road as rain runs down the ruts and makes
gullies. I have suggested, advised, asked, begged, pleaded, and
cajoled visitors to please drive to one side or another, anywhere but
the common path. Drive where no wheel tracks are visible. Drive to
pack down loose dirt. Please don’t drive in the ruts. They nod
agreeably and leave. When next I go onto the road I can see that they
drove in the ruts.
I have placed obstacles in the ruts, sizable stones. Reminders.
Drivers veer around the stones and back into the ruts. The road is
four-tenths of a mile long and placing stones close together in two
wheel ruts is beyond reasonable time use.
Driving in the ruts requires the least amount of thinking. Some people
lead lives in the same way. They see what others are doing and do the
same. Sometime late in their lives they may ask themselves the classic
question: is that all there is? Well, no, there is much more. To find
it requires getting out of the ruts.
Cutting corners is another example of insufficient mental engagement.
A friend recently came for an extended stay. He drove down the
driveway, probably in the ruts, across the elevated crossing, and
turned to drive across the stream at the near end. The water there is
perhaps three inches deep. Having thought about the water feature
challenge for a couple thousand miles, he focused on getting across
without becoming bogged down. That focus got his pickup through the
water just fine but it darn near tipped his travel trailer, because he
cut the corner and the trailer wheel dropped into a hole.
Now this is a man who during part of his formative years lived on a
farm. Farm boys learn about the consequences of cutting corners.
Gateposts are a common victim and tipped loads of hay bales are
another. I myself, at age sixteen, was told to stay on the tractor
while three old men reloaded the wagon I had just abruptly unloaded by
turning too tight uphill. Fifty-six years later I still remember the
To cut corners and to drive and live in the ruts requires the least
amount of thinking. It also pays the least rewards. So, engage that
power in your head. Davy Crockett said, “Be sure you’re right, then go
ahead.” I’ve played with putting the emphasis on different words in
that admonition. For today, I will emphasize the word, “then.” Better
to pause before proceeding than to drop into a hole.
More information about the Homestead