Journal Entry 1-18-11

The rivers of northwestern Oregon are near flood stage today, with some in full rampage. The Sandy river on mt. Hood tore a new bed for itself, cutting a main road, taking out a bridge and dozens of homes. It is our usual late winter pattern of heavy snow in the mountains followed by a sudden warming and heavy rain that causes our usually quiet rivers to find their voice.

There is an African proverb that says, “a man is like a pepper–you don’t know how hot he is until you chew on him a while.” Fill a man with too much emotional snow melt from too many tributaries, particularly if his bed is sand, and you never know how many lives he may decide to tear into–or uproot and toss aside like matchsticks. Many of us meander across the sandy lands, whip sawed and changing course daily, with few stone gorges to hold our personal floods in check. The recent killings in Arizona lead me to believe we need a Department of Mental Geology to survey the strata of students and lead those with no solid ground below them to safer terrain.

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