Wednesday, 17 June 2009

Balanced Pole

A man was holding up a great big pole, a pole which from his perspective must have seemed to extend to the most impossible height, and though this "impossible height" would of course have been nothing but exaggeration and cliché, still it was a real and considerable height, and so the pole's balance difficult to maintain, or if not necessarily difficult to balance, potentially very easy to unbalance. This balancing was much more than simply a matter of muscles and willpower, for however determined and focused, tensed muscles will eventually, and even soon enough, strain, and no amount of determination will hold off the moment when they give way altogether, and so disaster.

No, it took more than just a big determined lump of flesh; wise body position was vital to provide greatest stability of self and pole, and also, in happy symbiosis, to provide for a minimum of unstressed bodily effort, but even then if attention drifts, the mind slipping away off somewhere, the vital gravitational centre imperceptibly shifts and the precariously balanced pole, now precariously unbalanced, its precious and perilous equilibrium lost, starts to topple sideways and return to earth. Though all is not necessarily yet quite lost for no matter how momentarily distracted, the very beginnings of such movement will be sure to bring the man's alarmed attention back to the reality of the pole and himself and he may yet retrieve the situation, returning the pole to its axis of stability rather than of calamitous instability.

But if it does fall? Disaster? I don't know. It's only a pole, though perhaps it may crash into something of greater significance- knock a house, break a window. And even if it merely falls harmlessly, still the man was balancing it surely for some good reason, unless that is he was merely balancing it so as to prevent the calamity of its falling, but even that he will argue is a good reason. But anyway if he did have it in the air for some good reason he would now have to get it back up there again, and such a manoeuvre from ground to air of a great big pole and one solitary man could be a most difficult one and perhaps even beyond him altogether.

No comments: