Uncertainty

Uncertainty

With every step we take, there is resolute action: a defined step in a defined spot, following the step that preceded it on a path toward a destination…We like the certainty of that mechanical process and the sense of definition it gives us. Our roads follow definite paths, the land is laid out in definite patterns. Though it always surrounds us, few of us wander off the trail through undefined terrain for that would be tantamount to seeking uncertainty and counter to our way of thinking.

I believe it’s good to have a little experience dealing with uncertainty. To intentionally wander off the trail is to experience the natural order of things. It leads us to appreciate what appears as chaos from our ordered perches, but that is marvelously patterned. It’s the opposite of looking at a mosaic, as we see chaos and fragmentary colors when we examine one up close, but ,in stepping back and gaining perspective, we come to appreciate the elaborate scenes as beautiful masterpieces. Uncertainty is inherently ambiguous, but it need not be frightening. By embracing the ambiguous and either stepping into it, as if leaving the trail, or stepping away from it, as if looking at a mosaic, we come to understand it and learn how to deal with it. A life too well ordered is an impediment to understanding.

Wandering down the coast of California, south of Monterrey, we follow the well defined path of the valley with all of its well defined farms and roads. As we pass Salinas and venture further into the Coastal Range, the irregular landscape introduces us to a world less ordered. And finally, as we look toward the horizon beyond the mountains, we meet ambiguity head on…The aerial horizon appears so broad and dense that we are uncertain where the Pacific Ocean ends and the skies begin. Being well versed in uncertainty, the pilot knows…This is one piece of the mosaic…The marine layer has collided with the coast line and is being held off shore by the mountains. The density of our horizon is the result of temperature differences in the Pacific and the normal flow of weather along the shore. Practice dealing with ambiguity and a little uncertainty becomes nothing to worry about.

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