I am truly a fortunate person. In fact, I am one of the luckiest people alive-- for I get to spend a significant portion of my life doing something people only dream about: walking with dinosaurs. Perhaps you thought they were extinct. I can just imagine you declaring that Jurassic Park was a fairy tale! The truth, however, is far different.
For many years, generally the length of my career in the Fire Service, I have encountered various forms of these creatures. Some large, some small. Many were indifferent giants, vegetarians lumbering along in the forest, content simply to be. Especially given their scarce number and shrinking habitat. Like all of their kind, they are a diminishing breed, but to call them vanished would fly in the face of what everyone who wears a blue uniform knows.
As public safety agencies across the country raised expectations-- required college degrees; critical thinking; and at long last started to consider such foreign concepts as change management; organizational transformation; and effective leadership-- they have still slothed along. Munching on the trees and generally unaware that their surroundings were changing. Until, at last they have been forced to face the same truth that has looked all of God's creatures in the eye-- evolve or die.
A few were able to pull it off-- willing to grow, question, and listen-- they integrated to their changing environment and survive by adapting. These are the seasoned veterans that are a joy to work with, around, and for. Able to leverage their experience and staid wisdom with the understanding that a tree (or dinosaur) that does not grow is also known as dead-- they occupy a welcome and increasingly rare position in both society and public safety organizations.
But, as is often the case with living things, many choose another path. That of utter and complete resistance to change, or growth, or evolution. From positions of fear, intolerance, resentment; or ignorance they cling hard to time-- as though it could ever be held at all. They live in the countless stories of old, where things were easier, simpler, and better-- and ignore even the slightest possibility that things could maybe improve.
They disregard that with each generation lessons are learned, insight developed, and the organization, or city, our country, or world does improve. The world moves away from the Eden's Garden of the good old days towards a new place. Its a scarry world-- of color, noise, light-- and change-- but it is what we are all here for-- anything less slaps the face of progress-- of evolution-- of the very truth revealed by the setting of the sun and its rise the next day. Time does pass-- we can hold on to nothing-- we are supposed to hold on to nothing, especially not our place, in a role, on a stage, where the satisfaction of too many comes not from being the actor playing a role, but the dinosaur living a lie.
Those these less than benevolent reptiles see as representing change are treated as threats or worse. And they are to be destroyed. Rather than the lumbering brontosaurus, leisurely wandering and comforting in its presence-- they become raptors. Carnivorously eliminating any and all threats-- whether real or perceived. They hunt down every last thing that represents what they fear and they do so with the arrogance that time imparts the unaware and the unwise.
At the inevitable and merciless end, standing in a field of destruction that they have created-- the lonely raptor realizes that his greatest enemy was the one he had no chance against. No matter how hard the bite, or devious the mind. For the clock on the wall still ticks and the pages on the calender still turn, and the cold will still come and his time will still pass. Left to understand that the time, oppprtunities, wonder and experiences of the days between the "good old" ones; and the last ones have not been used to better others; or himself-- but rather to fight an unwinnable battle-- punish those who were just doing what they had to do to survive-- and hold back the arch of time-- the dinsosaur comes to understand and feel that the final page of the calendar will soon turn.
Perhaps it already has.
And Now a Word From The Sponsor
Welcome to my site and thank you for reading. After many times thinking, if only I had a blog, well-- here we are. This blog will feature writings on a variety of topics from roadside food, to leadership in the fire service; politics; culture- gay, straight, and indifferent, my experiences in Ohio, New York and beyond; and much much more. It's my hope that you will find it interesting and that it stirs at least some thought and discussion. I am certain you wont always agree, but that is what its all about right? Oh and one more thing: The views expressed on this site are entirely my own. They do not reflect in anyway the views or positions of my employer.