Past and present

Posted by Ken Campbell February 4, 2013 0 Comment 1072 views
I’m a list maker. I’ve found that the best way to keep focused is to make a list of what I need to do. I’m less likely to be distracted by pretty, shiny objects or to chase my tail down the rabbit-hole of the internet if I have a clear list of stuff that I want to get done. 
I try to reuse paper when I can, cut a regular sheet in half and write on the back side. Sometimes I’ll flip the page over and look at the writing that is there, try to figure out what it used to be and how long it’s been since I’ve seen it. This morning, as I was making my Monday list, I glanced at the other side of the paper and perused what was once a lesson plan for a kayak navigation class. There were sections on charts and tide tables, as well as a breakdown of dead-reckoning and piloting techniques. Blank sections were off to the side of the page, for note-taking and problem solving exercises.
It’s been a few years now since I last taught that class. I remember using that lesson outline and I can remember those nights that I sat there, in the boat room at Backpackers Supply, myself and 4 or 5 students clustered around tables, working on triangulation and trip planning, perfecting compass technique and reading navigational symbols. I enjoyed teaching those classes.
But times change. One of the great things about writing is that the words often outlast their context and years later, they provide a window to the past, a way to look back in time that would not otherwise exist. It is my list of tasks for today that I need to focus on at this point, but I appreciate the look in the rear-view mirror as well.

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