Monday, May 22, 2006

A Door to Nowhere?

I’ve been there. You, if you are in the habit of being honest with yourself, have likely been there too. Perhaps we have scurried past each other while there, each in so much of a hurry that we missed the chance to get to know each other.

Where, you ask, is the ‘there’ of which I speak?

John Lennon visited the place, at least in his mind: he was a nowhere man in a nowhere land.

Nowhere. No, not nowhere in the sense that the place doesn’t exist, more so in the sense that it is a real place which itself does not lead anywhere else. It is a dead end, a dream gone bad, perhaps a failed
relationship, a meaningless job or a bad business deal.

Yes, I’ve been there. It is not a place I plan to visit again.

I am not one to second-guess myself. If I make a bad choice, a bad deal, make a wrong turn in any way, I never berate myself. If our lives are broken, if our finances are crumbling, if our relationships sour, it is up to us to remedy the problem. We can lick our wounds if we must, but please let us do so quietly. Let’s not impose our problems on others, they already have enough of their own.

I plan to embark on this new voyage of becoming a land developer in the mountains of Panama. I will have at least two partners, perhaps more, but I will be president of the corporation, in overall charge of the project. My partner Phil, the engineer, will take care of all the things I have no clue about. Roads will have to be built. Electric power will have to be available at every lot line, as will be potable water. Phil is capable, has had lots of experience in such things, and will do a great job. Another partner will be Temy, a native Panamanian and the current owner of the land. He now lives in Virginia, but will be moving back here soon. He will be a tremendous help with local authorities, labourers, and suppliers.

There are several other potential partners but we have yet to get a firm commitment from them. Whatever happens, if necessary, Phil and Temy and I will go it alone. There is still some due diligence to be done, but so far things look good.

The land that we propose to develop is spectacular. It has great views, ravines, a river, a stream, stone walls everywhere, beautiful trees, and has been cared for lovingly. There is an orange grove with 400 fruit-bearing trees, dozens of pineapple plants, plantains, mangoes, some fruit I can’t remember the name of and a garden area with vegetables. We hope to make that entire area a communal ‘green space’ and make all these things available to anyone who builds a home in our community. We want to do so many things that our ideas have run ahead of realities like how we are going to pay for everything we propose to do without first having sold a bunch of building lots to raise some operating capital. We can’t sell lots until we have an approved site plan. We can’t get a site plan approved until we submit the plan to Panamanian authorities. Thank goodness, one of the partners is a Panamanian. That should help, I think.

We’ll manage. As long as nothing pops out of the woodwork that would shock me sufficiently to drop the deal and go away, we’ll make things work. It will be probably at least a year before we can start selling lots, but I’m an optimistic sort of guy. Maybe I’ll start buying lottery tickets to give us more working capital. Do you think that might work?

I don’t want this project to be like the gate leading to nowhere, shown in the photograph above, and don’t think it will be. Serendipity, or providence, or something, has been at work leading to the circumstances described here. It all seems almost too good to be true.

No, I think this is all leading somewhere, somewhere good, not nowhere.

I asked the surveyor today, after trekking through the property again, if he thought we were crazy.

He didn’t think so.

I hope he’s right.


  1. That is a great picture and gave me just the feeling you described afterward. I've been there and I don't mind looking back on those moments, because after you acknowledge them, the real doors appear.

    Enjoyed this post. I am excited for you!

  2. I hope you don't mind me commenting. I'm just a 15 year old kid who lives in Tennessee.. but I'm curious. You said that the photograph above is a gate leading to nowhere. Do you really mean it? I see a beautiful blue sky horizon and a cool wet ocean full of fortunes that are everybody's to enjoy.

    There's no such thing as nothing.. no gate leads to nowhere because "nowhere" doesn't exist. We can still be grateful of emptiness simply because it contains silence, which is sometimes desirable. It contains darkness, or perhaps clarity, both which are sometimes desirable.

    Your favorite word is "why". You ask why the world is such a mess. You ask why we're all so destructively stupid. But I ask you.. if the World Council of Vocations allowed Equality 7-2521 to become a scholar.. would he have the revolutionary idea of "I" or "we"? One mistake can birth a mess of success. Look on the up side of life. That will give you happiness, happiness so you may find joy. Joy.. so you can one day find purpose.

    I'm just a 15 year old kid who hasn't been through a whole lot.. but I hope you got something from this. Live wonderfully. :-)

  3. You are a bright kid, Defining and Defying. Any 15 year old who has read and understood “Anthem,” probably my favourite book of all time, is better than OK by me. The whole point of my post is that while we have all been at a perceived ‘nowhere’ at one time or another, that should never lead us to believe that whether we choose door one, two, or three, is immaterial, that every door leads to nowhere. I see beauty and optimism everywhere in nature, and in individual human beings. I see stupidity, sloth and evil, in everything collective. And that is what ‘Anthem’ is really all about, isn’t it?

    When I contemplate something new, I consider and cogitate, but never agonize. You recognize that ‘mistake’ can lead to ‘a mess of success,’ and I agree. Any door, any path, any action can lead to success if you are open (pardon the pun) to it.

    I visited your blog. Keep thinking. Keep posting. We need more kids like you!

  4. Penny: One of the things I truly miss while out here is having the time to cruise other blogs. I always love reading your posts and in a couple of days I will be back at my desk, nursing a Tim Hortons coffee, catching up on what I have missed.