Tuesday, January 19, 2010

An Allegory

I sit on the dock, staring absentmindedly over the quiet lake. The canoe is tied down, gently bumping against the pier, as if impatient. It’s almost as if it knows it’s time to go.

There’s not much sound in the air, other than the occasional fish splashing through the surface or the gentle breeze rustling the few leaves left on the trees. The same breeze washes across my face, cooling my skin, but doing nothing to clear my mind.

Four years ago, this canoe was new, and I knew little about how to use it. I had stepped into it and taken off. I knew where I was going, but had no idea what to do when I got there.

Now, my time here has come to an end. I’m not sure that I’m any smarter, but looking at my canoe, you can tell it’s had some use. Some of the scratches are superficial. Others are too deep to be scratches. Scar may be a more accurate word. Now, I know which areas to avoid when I step into it, and I also know which parts hold secrets. It may be a while before I clean those areas out. It’s not new anymore, but it has been faithful and constant. I trust it will get me where I need to go.

I glance up.  The sun is setting. I must get moving.

I’m really not taking much with me. Just my oars, and thousands of memories. Once again, I know where I am going, but not much of what will happen when I get there. Perhaps if I knew better, I would pack more. But I don’t, so I can’t.

Quietly, I step into the canoe. The water splashes gently as the canoe settles in. I untie the rope and feel the rough hemp run through my fingers as I drift away.

I look back at the dock, amazed and shocked that this day has come. I did not expect that it would be so soon. I did not expect it to come at all. There are trips that are taken for the joy and fun of it. Then, there are those trips that are a necessity. We are drawn by forces greater than we are, compelled by impulses that must be followed. Growth, if truly sought, is not always easy.

As I drift, I contemplate the time I put on the dock. I sanded and painted and polished the areas I could reach. Some piers I replaced, others were strengthened anew. Some planks needed patching, others were changed out altogether. And yet, still other parts were beyond my skills. Now the time has come for someone else to get to the rough spots I was never going to reach. No, although I will miss the dock, I am not worried about it. I have left it in good hands.

But now, just as I trust others with the dock, I have to head to where others await me.  I hope they will learn to trust me just as much.  I hope I will be, for them, a worthy leader.

After a moment of quiet reflection, the oars break the water. I set my face and look ahead.

It’s time to go.


Did it MY way said...

I wish I could write as well as you do. Enjoyed it.

See Ya

Lawyer said...

You write much better than I do. I'm honored that you stop by. Thanks.