Monday, September 14, 2009

Underground Understanding

Friday, August 22, 2008
12:03:27 AM EDT

Underground Understanding

A wise man can see more from the bottom of a well
than a fool can from a mountain top.

You may have heard the story of the mule in the pit. A farmer hears one of his mules howling and discovers that the mule has fallen into a deep pit. It's too high for the mule to climb out and he's too heavy to lift out. So the farmer decides that since he was going to fill up the pit anyway he might as well do it and bury the stupid mule. So he takes his shovel and starts flinging dirt down on top of the mule who shakes it off and stands on it, howling away. After a while the crying stops because the "stupid mule" has figured out that every shovel full of dirt that's thrown down on him which he shakes off and stands on is getting him closer and closer to the top of the pit. Eventually he's high enough to just walk out.

I met a guy in New Hampshire who said he wanted to go for a hike up one of the small mountains and asked me if I would like to go along. Being a hiker myself I agreed. During the hike I did what I usually do, I stopped along the way to investigate and admire things. I was curious about the strange plants, the different ways some trees were growing, the unusual rock formations, what the birds and chipmunks were up to. At one point we came upon a small waterfall. I wanted to look at it, put my hands in and splash some water on my face. But my companion was impatient and anxious to get to the summit.

When we got there I thought we would sit for a while and enjoy the wonderful view of the valley and surrounding mountains. But he wanted to turn around and go back down. It was then I realized that his one and only reason for climbing the mountain was for exercise. He had no interest in learning anything about the mountain or what could be seen from the summit.

db -The Vagabond

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