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Tuesday, December 16, 2008

"Watershed Moment" Defined


I’ve come to the end of my tether. I have. I swear I get about half a dozen hits a day on my blog from people searching for a definition of the “watershed moment.” Now, I don’t fault the seekers and the searchers. I did, after all, post an entry about “watershed moments.”

I think it’s a sense of guilt that propels me to (once and for all) define a “watershed moment.” I hate to think that people venture here only to come away disappointed.

Anyway...

It helps to be a hydrologist or hydrogeologist when discussing watersheds. (Handy Tip: “Water runs downhill”). The term “watershed moment” is born of a hydrological notion: that a drop of rain falling on a mountain ridge may teeter for a millisecond before cascading down one side of the mountain or the other. East or West? North or South? The direction makes all the difference. Say you’re the “raindrop” (oh, yeah, watershed moments are ALL about momentous decisions). You’re the raindrop and you fall on the peak of a mountain ridge. What to do? What to do? The watershed on one side is tumultuous and dangerous. Rivers rampage as rapids down steep valley gashes.

The opposite watershed is something quite opposite. Streams meander to an alpine lake. Raindrops finding their way there bask in liquid tranquility.

You’re the raindrop cascading towards a knife edge. Where to go?

Where to go?

* * *

4 Comments:

Blogger tipota said...

tis such a great piece. what you 'choose' to do not what you think or say. i will be thinking on this one for a long time, i will think of it on the cusp of every watershed moment, thankyou

Wed Dec 17, 09:56:00 AM  
Blogger L'uragano (The Hurricane) said...

Lovely, lovely, lovely. I've been that raindrop many times.....I know that teetering feeling. And no one ever walks away disappointed.

Wed Dec 17, 10:58:00 PM  
Blogger anna said...

I don't know where you should go. I just know I hope you choose to blog about your choices and share with us the consequences of those choices.

By the way, my word verification was "seedo"... very close to "speedo". I think that means you should take a beach vacation.

Thu Dec 18, 07:25:00 AM  
Anonymous Roads said...

That's a great definition.

I can sense some exhilaration on behalf of your commenters on the prospect of being that raindrop.

And yet, as a geologist myself, perhaps I can relate even more precisely to the depth of the quandary involved.

The key point that water flows downhill is too easily underestimated here.

Think about the finality involved. Once a path is chosen within a moment like this, some important aspect of the future is now defined.

Or, to put it another way, the scary thing about this kind of moment is that once the decision is made, you know: there's simply no way back.

Mon Dec 22, 12:28:00 PM  

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