What to write about? What to write about? What the…? Well, thank you, world; I’ll write about that. Unintended consequences happen, and one just happened while I was wondering about what today’s topic will be. Evidently, I can take a hint, especially if it is an obvious one. A deer just gave birth by my wood pile. Cuteness happens.
Wooden fences fall down. Wood can survive for centuries or millennia as part of a healthy tree. Wood can survive just as long as part of a well-maintained and protected building. Wood can also have trouble when weather gets to work on it, as some of my house’s trim pieces can prove. Wooden fences in the maritime climate around the Salish Sea have to survive wind, rain, moss, critters, and nature in general. Rot happens. Part of my fence fell down – again.
My fence falling down isn’t too much of a surprise. It is old, and my neighborhood is one of the windier and rainier parts of Whidbey Island. Put the fence adjacent to vacant fields (which are probably about to become house construction sites), and dirt and weeds can pile up against the outside of the fence. Hello, rot.
For years I planned on improving or replacing the fence, but spare time and money have been in short supply. I try to be resourceful and creative, so I was curious about other options. Stone is best, but I’m not trying to build a fortress. That wouldn’t fit a seaside cottage style. Replacing with wood is typical, but 1) I’d like to find something that didn’t require injecting chemicals into the wood making it harder to recycle, and 2) wood prices spiked during the pandemic. That leaves metal. Metal is fine. It will rust, but at least mold and bugs won’t break it down. Besides, I’m from Pittsburgh and I’ve worked in a mill. Steel or aluminum make sense to me because they are recyclable. And of course, there’s always having no fence at all.
I’m guessing that having no fence at all is the preferred solution according to the deer, the bunnies, the raccoons, and a wide variety of other critters. Having at least a small garden is my preference. I guess the critters would like it best if I had a garden and didn’t have a fence. Since my fence fell they’ve proved that by nibbling the lower branches of the fruit trees, or in the case of a struggling apple tree, all of its branches. Sigh.
This spring has been setting records for wet and cold in the area. It probably wasn’t the best season for growing (though the weirdness of the world encourages some home growing, just in case.) So, I haven’t done much about the fence. Besides, finishing three books, arranging for public speaking events, and ramping up real estate has kept me busy.
Finally, I have a design that minimizes the use of expensive lumber, is simplified by using metal posts, avoids concrete, and reuses fencing that didn’t break when it fell (even though it damaged me in the process, but that’s another story.)
Ah, but there was writing to do and nothing was coming to mind. One solution: do some yardwork. So, go into the bedroom to change into my grubbies, peek through the curtains to check the weather, and notice a doe with two fawns. Surprise! Sweet. I actually saw it earlier and nodded at it because it was resting beside the wood pile, out of the way of aggressive dogs that I’ve seen attack other deer. It looked a little chubby, but I don’t judge. But now, two fawns. What a weightloss program!
Because my fence fell down a deer was able to find a safe place to give birth to the next generation. That’s not the consequence I intended or expected; but I’m glad for it.
Unintended consequences are common in my life. The world laughs at plans, and yet things get done. There’s chaos under heaven and the situation is excellent, which is just another way of acknowledging that trying to control reality is a silly endeavour.
I have some friends who are already demonstrating their skills, but it doesn’t seem to be enough for them to pay their bills. I can see some solutions (that’s what consultants and engineers do), but my energies and attempts barely nudge them. I know they think the same thing about me. We talk, but we rarely actually do what the other thinks should be done. That’s human nature because many times there are other reasons those things don’t happen.
At the same time, I’ve been thanked by many people who’ve told me that I inspired them because of something I wrote, a casual comment, or a bit of body language at just the right time in just the right way to lead them to success. Great! How’d I do that? I don’t know; I was just being me (and not charging, which may be worth exploring.) One started a large project that was intimidating. One eventually produced a movie and TV series. One became a multi-millionaire. I didn’t make those things happen directly, but evidently I helped.
Just as I accidentally enabled a deer to give birth to two fawns (who were nursing and nuzzling a few minutes ago.)
This isn’t about me as much as it is about you. It is easy to be demoralized in today’s world. Work can seem pointless. Compliments can exceed compensation. Progress can be challenged by pointless commentaries.
But you can’t know everything you’ve done that’s made a difference. (Cue up A Wonderful Life, though out of season.)
This week I found two comments online about me and some of my work that no one told me about. No Notifications, that I noticed. Nothing that was being used for marketing. Just simply nice things. By not notifying me they weren’t intending any consequences for me, but the consequence was that their words felt more sincere, and were more welcome.
The same is probably true for you, too.
My unintended consequences aren’t paying the bills. (Yet.) I can’t deposit them (yet), but I can value them for my own well-being.
Two fawns are cute, and having them outside my bedroom window was not intended, but they are a fine consequence.
A more personal consequence is that, because they are there, I have a great excuse to skip working in the yard. Hey, that’s valuable!