A Story of Catching the Wind... and maybe a metaphor for success
Is there anything that invites nostalgia more than the thought of a spring fed pond? Long carefree days filled with the sounds of laughter and the endless escape into the cool water from the hot summer sun; a harmonious balance with nature - Except when it isn't.
It seems a pond is a dynamic creature with thermal layers, aerobic and anaerobic bacteria, a constant amount of "nature" going in, and unpredictable movement; all of which can lead to an overgrowth of algae and pond scum if not in balance, and this was very much my pond.
In looking for a root cause, it seemed to be an imbalance between aerobic and anaerobic bacteria; as oxygen in the water is depleted, the anaerobic bacteria flourishes and creates ideal conditions for algae, pond scum and bad smelling water. The solution it seems is to simply put oxygen back into the pond that encourages the aerobic bacteria to restore the harmonious balance of nature.
So, with an environmentally friendly windmill to aerate a pond on order, the Story of Catching the Wind begins.
An unassembled sixteen foot windmill comes in six boxes that includes a compressor, a large number of galvanized metal pieces, what seems to be a countless number of bolts, nuts and washers, and an abundance of one off parts. Also included is one very detailed twenty-five page manual to aid with assembly.
There was never any doubt that I would do the work myself; with the help of Big Red and a long in the tooth Toyota Tercel named Doris we planned to start early Saturday morning, under what turned out to be a cloudless sky. I suppose I could have hired someone but skills and competencies are developed when you do it yourself; to truly understand something, including yourself, you have to become a practitioner - In the end, this windmill (as well as catching the wind) was an exercise in patience and perseverance.
The assembly process was systematic and not to be deviated from; the legs, cross supports, bolts, washers and nuts were put together but left loose; as the tower took shape, the holes did not always align, necessitating the need for shear muscle to coerce the bolt through the hole. With the sun high in the sky, we were now able to divide and conquer with Big Red working on the blade assembly and I (awash with déjà vu) readdressed the nuts and bolts of the tower to fully tightening them. With the tower and blade assembly complete, that left us just with the compressor assembly and then final windmill assembly.
The compressor housing assembly consisted of inserting a pivot tube through two holes in the compressor housing (and fastening it) and then sliding a brass bushing over the pivot tube. What we quickly discovered was the pivot tube too large to go through the holes of the housing and the brass bushing was too small to go over the pivot tube. Two and a half hours later (after some cursing, creativity, tools used outside their design specification and lots of muscle and sweat) the "what should have been a 15-minute" task was complete.
With the top of the tower now resting at a 15 degree angle on a bench, the pivot tube was greased and inserted into the hole at the top, the blades were attached to the compressor shaft (involving the ongoing equal tightening of bolts and nuts until the blades were balanced) and the tubing that would carry the air to the pond was secured - With he windmill now fully assembled, all we had to do was get it vertical! After two failed attempts to lift the windmill into place and the shadows around us started to get long, the possibility of leaving the windmill lying on its side was a real and would be a monument to our failure.
Now enter the ever-dependable Doris whose only desire is to help you get from here to there. With Big Red behind the wheel, Doris strapped to the windmill, and me guiding and directing progress, the windmill started to rise. There was a moment where it almost fell over onto Doris and then back onto the ground but in the end the windmill settled majestically into its new surroundings. After celebrating a little, we secured the windmill to the ground, attached the air tube to the air diffuser and sank the diffuser in the middle of the pond. We were now set; in theory the wind would turn the windmill, the windmill would pump air into the pond, and the diffuser would inject micro-bubbles of oxygen into the water.
As we looked at the water and then at each other, we slowly looked up at the windmill with the realization that the early evening air was dead still - The windmill was motionless. Our day was now done, so we packed up and left the property to its own devices. In the end, the 16-hour day positioned us to "catch the wind" and that was all right by me. Literally it is about being in the right place at the right time and I knew the wind will come.
Metaphorically speaking in a professional sense, "Catching the Wind" (or "catching the wave" if you identify with surfing) means you are in the right place at the right time to catch the energy of the "moment" to propel yourself fast and far in your career. Metaphorically speaking, the assembly of the windmill that day was a reminder of what it takes to position yourself to "Catch the Wind that propels your career far":
- Depending what you are positioning yourself for, it may come with any steps and some are such that you just can't "skip over" them - Know what you need to do.
- You can't do it alone, and you need good people to help you along the way - Their support is crucial to learn, to develop and motivate you.
- It is hard work. Don't think otherwise.
- Unforeseen problems will arise and they have to be solved before you can continue - This will most likely take creativity and perseverance to work through them.
- The only one stopping you from quitting is you - Don't quit!
- Sometimes the wind just isn't blowing. Make sure you are positioned in the right place and have a little patience.
So my windmill is ever vigil and waits to catch the wind.
So does my pond for that matter.
I was born into a lower middle class family and gr ...
This came out of a recent “Think Tank, Brain Trust ...
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