He was tired. Smearing a mosquito across his cheek, he clenched his teeth and narrowed his eyes. The evening fog was becoming dense, eating away at his ripped clothes and seeping into his bones. Twigs cracked under his thick rubber soles as he dragged himself through the labyrinth of the forest. He was told there would be a clearing soon. He was told he would find his answer in the clearing.

Before nightfall, he arrived at an open field. At the far end of the field was a small cabin. There was a torn piece of soggy cardboard propped up on the porch with the words ‘Help Wanted’ scratched into it with thick red marker. Inside the cabin, there was a round pink man sitting behind a desk that seemed too small for his demeanor. His thick spectacles were propped up on the tip of his nose. He folded his newspaper as the screen door to his office creaked open.

“I would like to work for you in exchange for money that I can use to buy food and shelter,” said the traveler as he approached the man behind the desk.

With an almost imperceptible nod, the man agreed to employ the traveler. “Come back tomorrow morning and I will tell you what work you will do for me.” The traveler agreed to return the next day.

In the morning, the man behind the desk gave the traveler an axe. “Your job will be to cut down trees in the forest around my cabin. You will be paid for each tree you cut down.”

The traveler was very excited. He agreed and promised that each day he would cut down more trees then the day before.

At the end of the first day, the traveler cut down 20 trees. He was very proud of himself. On the second day, the traveler worked twice as hard but only cut down 15 trees. He thought that it must have been because he was still getting into the habit of cutting down trees, so he decided not to be too hard on himself and come back the next day fresh and ready to achieve his original goal.

On the third day, the traveler worked harder then he had on the first two days combined but he only ended up cutting down 12 trees. He was feeling discouraged and frustrated. He went to the cabin and approached the man behind the desk. He told his employer about his experience and asked for advice.

The man behind the desk folded his newspaper, peered at the traveler from above the thick red rim of his glasses and asked, “In all this time that you have been working yourself to the bone trying to cut down more trees each day, have you taken the time to sharpen your axe?”

“No. I didn’t think there was time to waste,” grumbled the traveler.

“There is no time to waste. All we have in the light of the sun and the cool of the breeze are the tools we are given to assist us in our work. Time will not help you cut down a tree. It will not make you stronger, nor will it lift the weight off your shoulders when you are tired. All we have are the tools we are given.”

With that, the man behind the desk unfolded his paper and continued reading.

Reluctantly, the traveler left the cabin and returned to the woods. Before cutting down any more trees, he sharpened his axe. That day, he cut down 23 trees. Each morning, before he began cutting, he checked to make sure his axe was sharp enough for the work he needed it to do, and each day he cut down more trees then the day before.

One Comment

  1. Rene says:

    oh no! poor little owl! and plant.I had to cut of 99% of a plant too last monht, the laeevs were falling hurted so much to see it that way…now its just almost nothing left but it seems to feel better.

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