Monday, April 28, 2014

Whether or not you see it...

On a chilly and foggy morning, the invisible suddenly becomes noticeable.  It isn't really invisible, you see, but easily overlooked until circumstances make it impossible to miss. In this particular case, what suddenly becomes visible is the almost-magical carpet of webs spun nightly along the ground, between plants, across grasses, and at the top of the most unimaginable spindles.

What makes the sight so breathtaking is knowing that the webs are always there; we just don't see them.

Much as fish don't see water and the prejudiced are sure they aren't, many things in life are invisible due to attitude, upbringing, rank, privilege, status, nationality, or a plethora of blinders, blind spots, and blindfolds. It's so difficult to see what's right in front of us that the wise intentionally seek different perspectives in the knowledge that collective sight is sharper and less obtuse than individual sight.

And the foolish among us?  They seek the bland homogeneity of agreement, convinced that the number of people who see it (or don't) is the litmus test of "truth."

Saturday, April 12, 2014


This year, the Panama Canal has been in operation for 100 years, including the Miraflores locks. One of three sets of locks along the canal, the Miraflores locks are the most proximate to Panama City, making them both the most visited and the most recognized.

I've spent the last four days teaching classes as part of an Executive MBA program in Panama.   As is so often the case, I could never have predicted that I would be marking a personal milestone in Panama City in the same year that the canal celebrates a centennial.

Over the past week I have tasted authentic empanadas, marveled at bunion trees, walked for miles (with both sunburn and blisters as silent witness), photographed the marvel that is Panama City, developed relationships, and wondered about the life we plan versus the life we live.

For as long as I can remember, I have seen photographs of Panama, including the locks, the trees, and the first house in which I remember living.  I'm not sure how to describe revisiting all of these many years later, mindful of the importance of this place to my parents, the distance I have traveled personally since leaving Panama, and the profession which made celebrating this milestone possible. Though it may take a while to find the words, I am thankful for the experience.

The Panama Canal celebrates 100 years. I am celebrating my small part.