River rafting is one of my favorite things to do. I've had the good luck of seeing quite a few watersheds with quite a few good people this way. River rats are quick to use river running as a metaphor for life, and for good reason. Life On The River is a simplified version of Life Off The River, which makes the basic lessons that more obvious. You have to bring what you need to survive/thrive. You are responsible for yourself. A simple stupid choice can become a Real Big Problem. And so on.

FIND YOUR LINE refers to the scouting element of rafting. Around these parts, the rivers are mostly "pool drop," which means the rapids are separated by calm(er) water. As you are rounding the bend of calm, you hear a rumbling. Then you see some stuff spitting up beyond the "horizon line" (where the gradient of the river is severe enough to drop below view). You tighten your life jacket, take a nervous pee, and stand up to see what's going on down there. You scan your options, pick what appears to be the winner ("find your line"), pee again, and give it all you've got.

It's easy to drift through life without a whole lot of intentional direction. As on the river, sometimes this works. But just as often, you get SPANKED. So if you want to achieve the best of what's out there, take the time to assess your possibilities. Once you see what you want/need, commit to it fully and NAIL IT.

The model in this image is Alvin, longtime river ranger on Utah's Westwater Canyon section of the Colorado River. I had the pleasure of working with Alvin at Westwater. And, he officiated my wedding! This particular image was inspired by a trip my wife and I took through Westwater to celebrate our 11th wedding anniversary. As fate would have it, we ran into Alvin on the river on that trip. Here he is taking a peek at one of the more unpredictable rapids (even to someone who has run it many, many times), SOCK IT TO ME.

◄ last step next step ►