The Great Divide

When I was a little kid growing up in a Denver suburb, and once in a while going to the mountains (but not often; the folks weren’t outdoorsy types, even though they liked it OK), my dad would always talk about this wondrous mysterious thing called “The Great Divide.” This is the backbone of the continent, no small thing. “We’re going to cross the Great Divide!” he’d say and if there was a chance, we’d stop on the great divide and look at it.

If you’re standing on the top of a mountain — Loveland Pass — it’s going to be awesome, anyway, but if it’s ALSO the Great Divide! WOW. And then mom would say, “Water that falls here,” and she gestured with her right hand (because we’re oriented north out here) “flows to the Mississippi and into the Gulf of Mexico or the Atlantic Ocean. And on this side,” she gestured grandly with her left hand, “The water will flow to the Pacific Ocean.”

“Think of that kids,” said dad who, it seems to me, was never short on wonder.

Later in school I got in an argument with my teacher over the nomenclature of this wonder. “Continental Divide? I think not. It is much MORE than that. It is the GREAT Divide!” At home my dad set me straight, and I learned a lesson that’s always been useful. There are often several correct names for things. Don’t argue names.

That goes for God, by the way.