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When things go right

May 31, 2012 - By Steven R. Peck

Humans are pretty good at being pessimistic, but sometimes things get better in spite of us

Something we humans can be overly prone to is the assumption that unwelcome circumstances won't ever change.

In the depths of the Great Recession, the incessant talk about the future of the economy always seemed to be based on the supposition that the only avenues to improvement were to raise taxes or cut spending (funny how doing both never seemed to enter the conversation on Capitol Hill).

The idea that the economy actually might grow through the normal transactions of business, trade, borrowing, lending and repayment, hiring and budgeting, business start-ups, technological advances, and the general recognition of opportunity rarely entered the conversation.

We note a similar tone this spring in Fremont County's current water worries. For weeks, all we heard was how bad it was going to be. We needed to conserve water immediately. We needed to plant different kids of landscape plants and crops. It was going to be a terrible year, because the water was going to run out. We needed to be ready to suffer.

Like the pessimism about the economy, these predictions avoided one important possibility: Maybe it would rain.

And, in the second half of May, that's what it did.

Nobody would be foolish enough to claim that a wet 10 days in May means we'll be in a comfortable water situation in August. Likewise, it's always worthwhile to conserve water and make water forecasts a part of planting decisions.

But it almost seemed as if some of the doomsayers were taking a bit of pleasure in their grim forecasts. Misery, as the wise man said, loves company.

Now, however, Mother Nature has provided an immense dose of relief -- and it's had nothing to do with anything we did.

It simply rained.

Then it rained again, and then it rained one more time.

More snow fell in the mountains. The weather stayed cool for more than a week, so the mountain melt-off slowed.

We might still have summer drought. We'd best be ready. But whatever else happens between now and the fall, the water picture won't be as grim as everybody was sure it would be just three weeks ago.

All because it rained.

We all remember the days at the beginning of the new century when we went years without adequate moisture. It can happen. But so can the alternative. Not every bad circumstance will remain that way. Things can and do improve regardless of what we do or worry about.

Plan for the worst? We're pretty good at that. But it needn't exclude the alternative.

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