“It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see.” -Henry David Thoreau

To anyone motoring through Redding on the interstate in the middle of summer, it can leave a lasting impression. And while the summers are very hot, there is much more to Redding than what might meet the eye.

Beyond the terrain of earth, white oak and manzanita there lies a channel, a culmination of mountain streams from the Sacramento. Always below 58 degrees, the deceptively calm surface cloaks the river’s strength. High above a Red-tailed Hawk or a Northern Harrier may be seen. The 300+ days of sunshine are hydrated by the River and lakes, bringing life to the region. Here you can get lost in the beauty of nature. The hills rise into foothills, the foothills into mountains.

But the true nature of this place is not just what it is, but what it was might be, what it was made to be.

“You can’t depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus.” Mark Twain

To look at things, it is easy to tell what they are not, it is harder to tell what they are, but to see what they could be, ah, that is the essence.

This city, what is it that we seek for her? We would certainly desire richness, both in prosperity and in culture. What are the emerging culture, creativity, and innovation, faith and family? What about health: body, mind, and spirit? Does thriving sum up our hopes? Will we settle for busyness or will only true increase and invention do? Can culture and organization alone overcome our social challenges?

In each of us is a design to make a difference, to somehow make our world better than we found it.

“Many men go fishing all of their lives without knowing that it is not fish they are after.” Henry David Thoreau.