A failed metaphor

I tried to explain this in therapy and I failed.

When I was on the road trip we went out on Lake Superior in a boat. It was a guided tour. The tour guide said that if Lake Superior were to flood its banks it could cover all of North and South America in an inch of water. This has stuck with me.

If the water escaped the boundaries of “lakehood” in a way that didn’t cause devastating flooding… it would become… just an inch of water. The power would be gone. What makes it a lake would be gone.

Ignore the possible damage from flooding. That’s not the point.

If Southern California were covered in an inch of water, if all of Peru and Brazil and Missouri were covered in an inch of water…

It honestly wouldn’t be devastating. It would evaporate. It would lose power. It would lose the ability to be vast and deep and effective. An inch of water in the Mojave Desert doesn’t do much. It goes away and has very little ability to impact life.

But Lake fucking Superior is immense. It has incredible ability to impact life. Lives have been centered around the lake for centuries, millennia.

Sometimes I feel like whatever it is that I am… I escaped the boundaries. I have become ineffectual. I have become… basically useless. I want to know what I was.

My shrink went off on this long tangent about how even if the waters escaped the lake it wouldn’t take away from what the lake has been, the value it has had.

So what you are saying is that the importance is a has been. It was important. It isn’t once it stops being the lake.

I feel like a has been. I feel like I could have had importance. I feel like I could have been effective and something of value and force… and now I am not. Now I am spread thin and I’m trying to be so vast I can do absolutely nothing.

One thought on “A failed metaphor

  1. Thendara

    You already are a person of importance; nothing could take away the impact you have had on your students lives, and on your family and friends. You have students who still keep in touch with you decades later-that is really meaningful. You and Noah created two beautiful human beings who will carry on your legacy. You have touched a lot of lives already and you connect with people wherever you go,so I suspect you are just getting started. Be well, friend.

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