Livin’ outside the box
During the 1970s and ‘80s, “Thinking outside the box” became the watch phrase for solving conventional problems using unconventional means.
Once introduced, this metaphor was quickly adopted by the business community, and over the intervening years has seeped into every aspect of our daily lives, ultimately becoming a guiding principle in contemporary society.
Although we at Twin Rocks Trading Post are familiar with the concept, since we are certain we have never seen the box and likely would not recognize it even if we stumbled into it, we do not believe it is applicable to our work.
We live beyond the normal confines, so we have never been concerned with such things.
In fact, our small community is so geographically and socially isolated, we are not guided by mainstream principles.
One does not reside in this part of the world and expect to be directed by the standard operational procedures or best practices.
The original settlers of this town discovered that natural fact when they loaded their wagons and struck out for what would become their new home.
A trip expected to take six weeks took six months, and, when the party arrived, they were faced with unexpected challenges.
They put in their head gates and irrigation ditches only to have them washed out by the raging San Juan River. The rains came only sparingly or all at once, and wind and dust storms ruined their fledgling crops.
They were required to develop extraordinary techniques just to survive. There was no possibility of thriving.
Because of technological advancements, today’s residents have more conveniences than those early inhabitants. On the whole, however, this is still a challenging place.
When Jana and I were dating, I often thought of those courageous pioneers.
She traveled extensively with her own Southwest arts and craft business, and when she turned the truck towards Bluff, she always cautioned me, “It will take time. There is no easy way to get to there!”
This environment demands creative thinking, and traditional solutions are frequently not relevant to our needs.
Fortunately, we have a staff raised on unusual experiences. Many of them grew up in homes located on windswept mesas without water, power, telephone, or the Internet. They had to be resourceful just to exist.
When people inspect our Navajo baskets and rugs or eat Peaches DeChelly or Eggs Atsidi at Twin Rocks Café and say, “Well, now that’s thinking outside the box.”
We reply, “No, that’s livin’ outside the box!”