Look at the Whole Picture

Amanda-HuberFor most people, living in a “gated community” means they live in a residential area with walls or fences and a gate to control who comes and goes. I live in a gated community, too. Our gate works to keeps things in, specifically cows. Most days, the gate is open, but when a cow gets out, it’s our first line of defense to keep the cow off the road.

A while back, the gate was needed. Unknown to us, a dead tree had fallen on a fence that is not readily visible. Eventually, the cows found it and a couple wandered across the fallen-down fence and into the yard. Of course, according to the law of the farm wife, that only happens when I am here by myself. But I know what to do.
As soon as I heard the “something’s in the yard that shouldn’t be” bark, I grabbed my keys and headed out the door. I was between the cows and the gate, so all I had to do was drive to the gate and shut it. Crisis averted.

As I turned around to drive back to the house, I glanced in the rear-view mirror. Something did not look right. I stopped, got out and surveyed the situation: the gate was shut, but where was the fence? I was so focused on shutting the gate that I did not notice the gaping hole about 10-feet wide. I was so used to the fence being there, a fact I would have sworn to, I did not see it was no longer attached to the gate post. Fence work changing it from four-strand barbed wire to an American wire fence had stopped 10 feet short of the gate. My tunnel vision on the gate kept me from seeing the bigger picture.

That’s the caution at the beginning of 2016: Don’t let tunnel vision on one or two problems, even big ones such as pigweed, keep you from seeing the whole picture. A package or systems approach has been advocated in peanuts for many years and it still works. Of course, as Dr. Baldwin used to say, “If it doesn’t rain, it don’t matter,” so let’s keep that in mind as you study the big picture.