Risks ahead!

Sometime risks only become apparent after a course of action is embarked upon. 

Here I am doing a run of the mill pile burn. Last December a ten minute storm made a mess that will take two years to clean up. 

Included in the carnage was a swamp turpentine tree which fell across the front gate at Bunyip Creek. We cleared the gateway but to one side the trunk still lays wedged in the fork of a bloodwood. 

One the other side of the gate was the head of the tree, unsightly with its gathering of weeds and long grass, a perfect hiding spot for the eastern brown snake, a deadly and aggressive inhabitant of our local vicinity. 

The weather is perfect for a careful precision burn. Early morning, no wind, predicted showers easing toward late afternoon. 

The fire takes readily and I manage the perimeter and take care not to let the fire get near the fence line less than two metres away. 

It is halfway through the burn that I think. Am I imagining it, or did the old man tell me once five months ago “you’ll have to move that pile if you are going to burn it.”

All of a sudden I start second guessing myself:

Did he say that?

If he did, why did he say that?

Was it because it was too close to the fence?

Does the water pipe run underneath that spot?

Luckily the burn went to plan. 

Doubt, however, is stressful. 

When nurses try to implement ‘Below Ten Thousand’, it seems like it should be a simple matter of following the usual educational process and then implementing the launch on an auspicious date accompanied by the usual fanfare. 

It’s a no brainer. 

A simple solution, harm free, low cost, effective. 

And yet. 

As soon as you start to advocate, obstacles rise and try to slap you back into your place. 

The risk only becomes apparent once you start the journey. 

Full of self-doubt you question yourself and start to waver. 

The risk of not proceeding is dangerous. 

In the clinical setting the risk is continued patient harm, team conflict and operational stress. 

With my fire, it was too late to bail anyway, but the risk of not proceeding was snakebite and an unmanageable locus for weed infestation. 

It takes courage, resilience and character strength to forge ahead into the unknown. 

There but for the grace of god go we, and in the end we will wonder what all the fuss was about. 


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