I used to go on hikes with a herd of buffalo, um, hiking group, that didn’t understand my desire to keep my feet warm and dry in winter. They also didn’t understand my personal belief that hikes should be 5 miles or less. I’d console myself around miles 6-10 with the thoughts of going to a friendly lunch afterwards, but by mile 11 I was plotting the murder of the hike leader.
On one of these hikes, we were at about mile 12 or 15 when I became aware that we were crossing the same stream that we’d crossed before, and even more aware that the blasted hike leader was hopelessly lost. I figured I’d be damned before I’d wade through ice water again, so I climbed a pointed and icy boulder, balanced myself on the toes of one foot for a split second, and neatly launched myself to the bank on the other side of the stream. This was apparently an act of beauty (stupidity), and a guy following me tried to make the same seemingly effortless launch. It didn’t go so well and he was soaked. To tell the truth, we were both lucky we didn’t break ourselves in half in the attempt, and I scolded myself a lot for doing it myself let alone allowing someone else to follow in my footsteps.
So, this moment in time points out a number of my talents. I can inspire others. I have a great sense of balance. I can forge my own path. Of course this also points out a few of my failings, such as a lack of common sense and self-preservation, but what talent comes without a few pitfalls?
The thing about talents is that it’s hard to say if they are really inborn or developed. Do I have a good sense of balance because of my genes or because I grew up by a river with slippery rocks and shale cliffs? Am I an artist because of my parents’ influence, their genes, the neighbor down the street, or the endless time I had to draw pretty pictures?