A parable about change without context.

A woman was taking a walk through the forest when she came across a gate blocking her path. It stood four feet high, and from either side, a fence disappeared into the brush. She tried to climb over the gate, but as she did, her pants caught on a burr and tore, cutting her thigh. She cursed in pain, falling to the ground on the other side clutching her bleeding leg.

“This is stupid”, she cursed aloud, “Why is there a gate in the middle of the forest? It is no taller than a child anyway, and on public land we should be allowed to move freely.”

So annoyed was the woman that rather than continuing her journey, she decided to do something about the gate. Taking a deep breath out, she wrapped a hand around the pendant on her necklace, and offered a prayer to Liber, god of wine and freedom, that she would impart the gift of freedom to whomever might find the gate. She picked up a nearby rock, and began smashing at the gate’s hinges. After a few exhausting minutes, she had broken the gate from its mounting, and it fell to the ground with a crashing thud that echoed through the trees. Puffing, she dragged the broken gate to the side of the path, and collapsed on the leafy ground, exhausted.

“This gate was so heavy! Why would anyone build a gate like this in the middle of nowhere!?”

But over her pounding heart and churning breath, she began to hear another sound – the galloping thuds of a beasts hooves. She sprang to her feet and looked up the path, finding herself facing down a wild pig, five hundred pounds and four feet high, the same height as the gate, running at full speed directly towards her. Immediately realizing her folly, she began wrenching and tugging at the now-fallen gate, to try to reattach it, but it was too late. The hog slammed into her at full speed, sending her tumbling like a rag doll as it escaped its enclosure, heading towards the freedom Liber had offered it.

As she lay on the forest floor, half-unconscious and delirious in pain, she quietly offered a prayer to Feronia, the goddess of wildlife and health, that she would never again tear down a gate until she knew why it had been erected in the first place.

// for those we have lost
// for those we can yet save

(Originally published on Load-bearing Tomato)

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