Thursday, July 12, 2012

Age and Perspective

In the novel Assegai by Wilbur Smith, a group of men are tracking a bull elephant that is running away from them now aware of their presence. The elephant can walk faster than the men can run and unless he stops, the elephant will out pace them and arrive in a place the men cannot follow. The old man in the group warns of this probable future. The young native Loikot has a different perspective.

'Do not listen to him, M'bogo,' Loikot advised. 'It is the habit of old men to be gloomy. They can smell shit in the perfume of the kigelia[1] flower.’

I’m going to have to remind myself of this parable. Is what I see as a probable future colored too darkly by my aged perspective?

However, this parable has a deeper meaning. The fruit that comes from the flower is poisonous to humans.

Does living in the present and enjoying the beauty of the moment, the fleeting instant of the now, leave you blind to its poisonous fruits?

[1] Kigelia Africana is also know as the sausage tree. The sausage tree boasts long, open sprays of large, wrinkled, maroon or dark red trumpet-shaped flowers that are velvety on the inside and that virtually overflow with nectar. The unique fruits look like giant sausages!

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