Man’s Humanity to Man
On more than one occassion, Kurt Vonnegut wrote and spoke fondly about firemen and their mode of transportation– the fire engine. When asked his thoughts about 9/11, the author simply said:
I can’t imagine a more stirring symbol of man’s humanity to man than a fire engine.
Vonnegut’s symbol is certainly nice, but now I’ve found my own image of man’s humanity to man. Last weekend, I witnessed an act that moved me more than a fire engine would. I watched four men rescue a dog from the Appalachian Trail.
At the end of our backpacking trip, I shuttled some hikers back to their cars. When I returned, I noted a particular couple still weren’t present at the trailhead.
“Brian and Akiko aren’t back?” I asked.
“They’re having a… dog malfunction,” someone told me.
It was the oldest dog in our group, eleven-year old Yoda, who was “malfunctioning”. With two miles left to go, poor Yoda collapsed. Shaking and completely spent, he could move no further. His owner put him in a creek to cool down and came down the mountain to seek help.
At this point, four men *ran* back up the steep two-mile ascent, built a stretcher and carried the dog down to safety. Their efforts were very touching.
Is it odd that my favorite symbol of “man’s humanity to man” involves a dog? I don’t think so. If those men would run up a mountain to rescue a dog… just imagine what they would do for you!
And actually, one member of our hiking group doesn’t even have to imagine. He got lost (“I thought the blazes were more of a guideline”) and never made it to the end. Some of the very same men who ran up to retrieve the dog, were poised to backtrack the whole day’s hike and/or explore steep side trails to find their missing co-worker.
And when cell phone contact with their colleague was finally made, a group of these hikers drove two hours to a trailhead in West Virginia, hiked up the Groundhog Trail and brought their lost friend home.
So if you don’t fancy the dog angle, how’s this:
If those men would drive two hours and hike up a steep hill for someone who disregarded blazes, just imagine what they would do for you! 🙂