Monday, January 14, 2008

The "Boiling Frog" Principle

In Al Gore's swan song enviromental manifesto "An Inconvenient Truth", he draws an analogy I will refer to as "the boiling frog principle". The boiling frog principle is an analogy: If one were to take a live frog and drop him into a pot of already boiling water, the frog would be immediately shocked into jumping out of the water. However, if one put the same frog into a pot of lukewarm water, and then sloooowly and gradually turned up the heat, one could conceivably begin to cook the frog alive, because the temperature of the water rises so gradually that the frog doesn't really ever notice how hot it's getting. Al Gore draws this analogy with respect to the earth's environmental issues, and why people are not "shocked" into taking action to save the earth.... the destruction is happening too gradually.

In the case of Team Audax, we have almost (but not quite) been taking for granted just how frickin' AWESOME it is to be cruising on a sailboat in the BAHAMAS. We started out in the Gulf of Maine, in the dark of night, high seas, 20 degrees Farenheit, snowing, dressed as if we were going skiing for the day, counting the minutes until it's our turn to go below and fire up "Mr. Heater" to thaw our fingers and toes. That was about seven weeks ago. Now, as I type this, I'm wearing only surf shorts and foot flops, it's sunny and 80 degrees outside, and I had to jump in the water this morning at around 9am because I had sweat beading on my brow. If I could have bridged these two opposing and contrasting scenarios with a two hour airline flight, I would have arrived at a Bahama beach and jumped into the water exclaiming "Holy SHIT!! This is frickin' AWESOME!! WOOHOO!!". The shock of the sudden enviroment change in full effect. But the sloooow and gradual nature of our journey South has demonstrated the other half of the boiling frog principle. It has happened so gradually, that we sometimes lose sight of the following.....

WE'RE DOING IT. We're doing what Team Audax has set out to do as we departed Strout's Point Marina in Freeport, Maine, on November 19th, 2007. Back home in Maine, there are FEET of snow on the ground, and they are enduring one of the most brutally cold and snowy winters in recent memory. We, however, are sailing in lovely Tradewind breezes, through shallow calm crystal clear turquoise water, shirts off, getting tan, meeting new people, and exploring strange new worlds we have never seen. Just this morning I had about six or so small yellow finch type birds using my fingers as perches as they ate sugar out of the palm of my hand. I have never done that before. A microcosm of "mission accomplished".

Now.... somebody please turn the heat down on the pot.... it's getting hot in here.

[Disclaimer: No frogs were harmed in the writing of this blog entry. Perhaps if it were "The Grilled Frog" principle, that would be a different story. I cannot, however, make claims for Gore's "An Inconvenient Truth".]

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