Lee’s Stories

Lee’s Stories

home >> Teaching and Learning >> What is there about Risk?
posted on September 9, 2016 | Teaching and Learning, Other
What is there about Risk?

What is there about risk?

What is there
about risk and uncertainty
that fire the sources of creativity and
call upon us to perform our best?  There is
something general and very special about the
edges of experience, where we have seldom
or never walked before. We can only
dream, imagine, and anticipate
what will happen.


Energy, life,
and eternal newness spring
from those places.


I live most
of my life well back from
failure, whether from laziness, habit,
fear, or lack of opportunity, and sometimes
fail because of it.  But so many times when I’ve
headlong into the void, following paths
that don’t exist
for me until I create them by
moving through the world,
I tap into well-
springs of energy for living whose
pourings sustain me through the
featureless plains of my
days and


Risk. Danger. Uncertainty.


What I think of
as risk is similar
to something
else, something else,
and something
else, and it is central in the lives
of all living
things.  Risk represents uncertain
ences between what is safe and
sure and true, and what
lies beyond.


Risk is a difference
between the path of minimum
possibility of failure and some other
that leads outward, away from ways
that comfort
and into the realm of the
unknown void,
where new and
things can occur
any moment.


What are the rules
of the game? 
How to weigh
slim distant glimmers of
gain against the
of loss?


The rest of the
research team had packed up and
left, leaving me with minimal supplies
for the last week of my last field
season at Grizzly Lake.

I was alone
in the wilderness.


My scientific duties
began each morning before first
light and ended around noon.  I spent
another hour in the meadows after dark,
after the hummingbirds retired. 
explored peaks and ridges
each afternoon.

    I wrote this
while sitting at the lip of a
500 foot cliff one afternoon in
1980.  I looked and  listened down into
three small watersheds at once,
contemplating my return
to the city.

Hard work,
hard play, and simple food
make for good sleeps. 
Good science
in meadows, good experiences on
and time to think about
things make for wonder-
ful weeks.


Edited June 2022

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