Although my home is less than 20 miles from my office, it’s in a very rural area that requires navigating a dirt road around the Navasota River to get to the highway. The landscape is pretty much flat pastureland and oak savanna. About six months ago, in the heat of a brutal Texas summer, I noticed that someone had placed a white cross in the middle of a pasture. The cross was mounted on some concrete blocks and had some wire fencing around it to keep the cows out. It looked pretty temporary; however, it remained there every day as I traveled from my home to the office and back home again. Over time, it got to the point that I stopped noticing. It had become part of my drive-time landscape.
As the days got shorter and the daylight waned earlier and earlier, my commute home began to be in the dark. It was a very dark drive when there was no moon or a cloudy sky. That was how it was last night as I entered the dark Navasota river bottom towards home, leaving the lights of College Station behind. That cross that I had long forgotten about was now bathed in a pale blue spotlight. It looked magnificent, just blackness and that blue cross. My spirits lifted immediately, and I was grateful to the person who had set it up. To me, this image represented something that went beyond religion, good will, and the holidays. It symbolized a future where we will be able to overcome our economic woes, environmental challenges, health care problems, and global conflicts. This is the real spirit of the season - optimism for the future. In an era where we get bombarded with negative news, this time of year allows us to recharge our batteries and to reflect on how great life truly is.
TEEX is a great place to work. Our
mission is to develop workforces, respond to emergencies, and assist in economic viability, and it’s a noble one. We take this charge very seriously, but we also have fun fulfilling it. We are able to see the benefits and the great impact of our efforts at times. This is very reinforcing and makes every day a day to be optimistic. On behalf of TEEX, I wish you all very happy and prosperous holidays!
Gary Sera is director of the Texas Engineering Extension Service and invites your comments.