The Optimism of Tomorrow

by JAKE NORTON

January 2020
The sun sets, but in nature's eternal optimism, it will rise again for a new day tomorrow. May we all - our leaders and all of us citizens - seize the dawn and lean into the optimism of tomorrow, with ethics and true leadership.

As the miles clicked away, Colorado fading into New Mexico and on into Texas, my mind reeled from the overdose of podcasts, pundits punditing and politicians pontificating and prevaricating in equal measure and unequaled bluster.

A glorious sunset began to unfold, casting the enchanting plains of the region in nature's simple - yet awe inspiring - symphony of color. A heron plucked a meal from a spring fed pond. Antelope grazed in the sage-pocked landscape. Wind turbines churned high above pumpjacks pulsing metronome-like, both feeding the incessant energy hunger of humans - the hunger of you, of me.

Meanwhile, a world away, the powerful were landing in Davos, stepping off their jets to discuss our world and its ills...and then do nothing about it. The halls of our Congress were filled with "leaders" arguing and bumbling and evading and doing everything in their power to retain their power, and little more.

My mind was clouded, the beauty of sunset hazed by the dearth of leadership, of ethics, at our highest levels, on all sides, with few exceptions in these troubled times. As the sun closed out another day, the turbines spun, the pumpjacks pumped, and antelope grazed and the heron ate her dinner in a faraway nook.

And my mind, duly influenced by the desert reminding me of my favorite authors, conjured thoughts of Ed Abbey and Aldo Leopold (respectively):

“A leader leads from in front, by the power of example. A ruler pushes from behind, by means of the club, the whip, the power of fear.”

Edward Abbey

"Ethical behavior is doing the right thing when no one else is watching- even when doing the wrong thing is legal."

Aldo Leopold

The sun sets, but in nature's eternal optimism, it will rise again for a new day tomorrow. May we all - our leaders and all of us citizens - seize the dawn and lean into the optimism of tomorrow, with ethics and true leadership.

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