The Pole

In the days before we drove around in cars, and flew in planes, a horseman rode into a clearing, beside a river, wondering where he could tether his horse. Looking around, he found a pole, dug a hole and tramped it firmly into the ground. With that he went to the waters edge and took a drink , then, before leaving, thought to himself,” I will leave the pole in the ground, and another horsemen who comes along will also have some where to tie his horse.”

The next visitor was not a horseman, but a traveller who had happened to be walking through the same area. Coming to the clearing where the pole was stuck in the middle of the trail she thought to herself “if people come by in the night they could walk straight into this”. Acting out of concern for others, she pulled the pole out of the ground and threw it aside.

A day or two later, a fisherman was walking down to the river to cast his line when he saw the pole at the side of the clearing. He picked it up and carried it down to the bank where he used it as a seat to raise his body above the muddy soil. When he was about to leave he too acted out of consideration “I will leave this pole here,” he thought. “Any other fishermen coming down to the bank will also have a dry place on which to sit and cast his line.”

A short while later a boat and rower came down the river looking for somewhere, to hitch his boat. He saw the pole on the embankment, nosed his bow into the shore and, like the horseman, dug a hole and inserted the pole so that he could safely moor his boat. On departing, he displayed consideration for other boatmen by leaving the pole embedded in the bank as a future convenient mooring post.

The next passer by was a woodsman, looking for firewood. He spotted the pole on the river bank and saw it a fine piece of dry firewood that would keep him and his family warm for a good few hours. And with that he heaved it out of the ground and carried home.

Each traveller treated the pole with good intent and in consideration of his or her fellow travellers. Each had found a practical use for the pole. Each traveller was different, each perceived the pole differently and, because of their perceptions, each took a different course of action. Who can say which if any of them were right?


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