We can see the past but not influence it.
We can influence the future but not see it.
--Stuart Brand, The Clock of the Long Now
I think Stuart must have had independent contractors (ICs) in mind when writing this. Since February, I had identified no less than 5 ICs to help with various aspects of delivery to, and installation of, 11 utility poles at Lovehops Farm world headquarters. And like flakey corn flake snowflakes, each skittered with Alice into the Great Follow-Through Oblivion.
It was unnerving at first…but then the numbness set in. I’d look back on to-do lists of promising leads and their phone numbers. I’d scan old emails and texts, where I’d methodically placed bales of warm, empathetic impatience as though in a small barn after a large harvest. “I’d appreciate your help! I know how crazy life can be! I’m building a hops yard, by golly! I really got to get this done!” And yet no one suggested dates to do the work. None provided a cost estimate. Spring was springing, more rhizomes coming, and there my poles rested, 55 miles away, getting wet.
Yes, yes, I know if you want to get something done….etc. But I’d made the calculations of time, money and wherewithal, and knew this was a moment of wanting that precluded doing it myself.
So there I stood beholding the past: the impotent messages and calls I’d made, uninfluence-able here in the wheel-spinning present. And likewise, I saw the future: rhizomes coming this week. No new poles, a mis-sequenced mess of planting and installation on my hands. The past I could see but not influence. The future, so Stuart’s theory went, I had influenced but could not see.
That's when the weight of intention accumulated a final fraction of a gram, just enough to engage cosmic tumblers that opened a hole through which the implausible flashed into being. They call this quantum tunneling. Tuesday: despair. Wednesday: delivery. Thursday: installation. Tuesday, planting. Fantastic specimens of humanity appeared in their unlikely robes as the sea of “yes, but”s miraculously parted.
So here’s what I think: our every action applies an ounce of pressure to a door that opens onto a hall where the options we could not imagine await behind further doors.
Go plan for that.