Of Poohsticks
and Obstacles to Success
on the River of Life.

My thoughts turn to poohsticks and obstacles to success once more as Spring at last arrives in the this part of the northern hemisphere.

Not too far from where I live there is one of my favourite garden centres. It is set in the grounds of a stately hall, and occupies what once would have been the walled garden that produced the fruit and vegetables to supply the home's wealthy owners. It has the hints and remnants of lives and lifestyles not quite totally disappeared into the annals of history.

The plants available there are very good quality and reasonably priced. The staff there know their plants and know that looking after both plants and customers is important.

There is a coffee shop with 'naughty but nice' homemade cakes, and a farm shop selling fresh local cheeses, meats from the local organic farms, and high quality green grocery.

One of my favourite parts of this garden centre is slightly hidden away behind the display areas. It's where a small stream running through the walled garden can be crossed by a small plank bridge to reach one of the lesser-used glasshouses.

It's there that my wife and me have played Poohsticks with our grandchildren as each has reached the toddler stage.

In other times, at other bridges we did the same thing with our own children. It's one of the ways that happy memories are formed. Happy memories are important to a happy life.

Poohsticks is a simple game and our objective is less focussed on who wins and more focussed on having fun as we 'dash' across the bridge to see which stick wins. The fun for us 'grown-ups' is all the more because the bridge is only three or four planks wide and we pretend that the run across that distance is just as hard for us as it is for the toddler with us. We believe it's ok for grown-ups to have fun on equal terms with children, and just because our legs are stronger and longer it's no reason to prevent the fun or the game!

Sometimes when you drop the stick into the stream, the current will carry it straight through and onwards down the garden to where the stream disappears into a culvert near the main entrance. But, this is a very small stream - both narrow and shallow. More often than not, the stick will get stuck on a protruding large stone (they're not big enough to be called rocks), or caught in the riparian vegetation. They're are plenty of obstacles to success when you're a stick.

Just about every stick has the potential to reach the culvert, and maybe the winter rainfall eventually washes them that way, but often we leave the garden centre with a trail of six-inch twigs along the stream between the bridge and the culvert.

I suspect Winnie the Pooh would see a great analogy for our journey through life.

Some sticks like some lives, reach their chosen destination. However, experience indicates that these numbers are comparatively small.

I guess that some sticks start their journey with the idea that they'll reach the culvert. They have a vision of what they're going to achieve, and that vision helps them to adjust along the course.

Other sticks see nothing but obstacles to success to snag them along the way. I guess they go to what they see too.

Well, Hey ho! and Tidley pom! It's time to getting back to clarifying my own vision!

How 'bout you?



Obstacles to Success

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