I really enjoyed seeing and working with Will every day, even though we've butted heads about as often as agreed. Looking back on the timeline of his life here, the roller coaster of how he has been viewed by the populace, gives me fresh perspective on what real strength and determination are. Will is our leader, the one who bears ultimate responsibility for every decision that comes down.
But he's much more than that. Some leaders rule through fear and others become lost in their office. Sometimes the forces bearing down on them can be overwhelming, but I honestly think the time Will spent as a prisoner here taught him some important lessons. He's the kind of leader that doesn't expect men and women to do as he says because of an election. When shit goes down, Will shows up and kicks ass. He does his time on the wall--he was on duty as an on-call fighter night before last during the zombie attack--and he doesn't ask anyone to do something he wouldn't be willing to do himself.
All that being said, he's not a hero or a myth. Will Price is a regular, if busy, guy. He's a history nerd that spends much of his spare time reading old books about war and tactics and military service. Will sees himself as a normal person being asked to do a difficult job, and he believes that leading by example, by making people want to follow you, is the only way to go. I'm in awe of his strength of character, to be blunt.
Which is why, when he stopped by this morning, I was caught flat-footed at an idea he had that's nothing short of brilliant. It's simple, too, but such a work of utter genius that when he bounced the concept off me to get some feedback, I just sat there and stared at him like an idiot.
Let me back up a little.
The rain only stopped this morning. The intensity varied a lot over the last few days, but it just kept on coming. Every catchbasin, bucket, reservoir, and hole in the ground is filled to capacity. One consequence of all the new water retention mechanisms we've installed is that when they get full we have to deal with the overflow. Changing New Haven as much as we have to accommodate new people has its drawbacks. Giant tanks to hold water are awesome, and the wide array of tarps and whatnot that catch rain to feed them work really well.
Then they get full and we have to slog through muddy rivers in the middle of the streets. Will was in meetings all day yesterday trying to figure out a solution. It's not a world-shattering crisis or anything, but it really is annoying. Event the blocked-off creek at the bottom of New Haven filled way beyond capacity.
What to do? Will thought about it a lot yesterday, but the flash of insight came to him when he woke up this morning: he wants to build a moat. Well, not a real moat as in a ring of water that surrounds our home like some awesome Disney castle, but the same basic concept. Since most of our big water tanks are at the top of the hill New Haven is built on, he had the idea to build runoff systems--simple ones--that would feed a series of big-ass holes in the ground outside the wall. The first hole would fill from the runoff pipe.
Say the hole is five feet deep. Once it fills, a shallow trench in the dirt, maybe a foot deep, leads to the second hole a little further down the hill. He wants to dot the entire hillside in them, maybe even run them around the newer expansions. The only tricky part would be running the overflow pipes. The rest is just a lot of digging, something a small crew could bust ass on.
Elegant but simple. I would never have thought of it. Will? He's the man. Coming up with a workable solution that gives us greatly expanded water storage (although not immune to evaporation, of course) as well as a new defensive measure.
Part of what makes Will the guy he is is the fact that he doesn't see how he's a rare breed. Confident but humble, creative, driven, intelligent, and loyal to an almost suicidal degree. And he came by this morning just to hang out and share ideas, to get my opinion on his solution. I spent a long time defending Will when he was still being punished for the things he did to keep New Haven safe. I watched him evolve and grow on our trip across the continent. In some ways he hardly seems like the same man anymore. He thinks in bigger terms, on longer scales, and wraps his brain around problems that would drive lesser men (*ahem, ahem*) crazy.
But he didn't have to stop being who he was to meet those challenges. Will grew beyond his limitations. The old him is still there. He still loves to read and tell ghost stories. If we ever have time, he's eager to start another D&D campaign. At the risk of sounding even more gushy than I already do, I'm proud of him. I'm proud of all he has endured, at his strength, and for keeping to who he is no matter what assaults him. I couldn't have more pride at being able to call him friend.
Now...if I could just figure out a nice way to get him off my couch. He has been playing with my cats for the last half hour and doesn't seem willing to leave. I mean, he does run New Haven. I'm sure he has important work to do...