community's future2

Take part in shaping community’s future

3/19/2016 Bozeman Daily Chronicle Guest Column by Kelly Pohl

During my senior year in college, an MSU geography professor stumped me with this essay question: “Which is more important in shaping landforms — large, sudden, catastrophic events like floods and landslides, or slower but persistent processes such as everyday weathering by wind and water?”

There was no right answer. The dramatic breakage of ice dams in Glacial Lake Missoula shaped hundreds of square miles of badlands across eastern Washington and created the vast Columbia River Gorge. But every single day, the rain, wind and snow break down our mountain ranges particle by particle, creating the craggy ridgelines and iconic silhouettes that frame our beautiful valley.

Today, that question stays with me, though it has morphed beyond questions of the physical world into something more personal.

What shapes who we are, as individuals and communities: large magnitude events or everyday encounters? Am I defined by the five or six biggest moments in my life, or by the way I live each day? Is our community defined by the headlines in this paper, or by the ordinary decisions we make as we flow through our lives?

View the column here