Making a Difference

Macro of a horned starfish.

Image via Wikipedia

Once upon a time there was a wise man who used to go to the ocean to walk at dawn. He had a habit of walking along the shore.

One day, as he was walking along he looked down the beach and he saw a human figure moving like a dancer. He smiled to himself to think of someone who would dance to the day.

So he began to walk faster to catch up. As he got closer he saw that it was a young man and the young man wasn’t dancing, but instead he was reaching down to the shore, picking up something and very gently, throwing it into the ocean.

As he got closer he called out, “Good morning! What are you doing?” The young man paused, looked up and replied, “Throwing starfish into the ocean.” “Perhaps I should have asked, why are you throwing starfish into the ocean?”

“The sun is up, and the tide is going out. If I don’t throw them in, they’ll die.” “But young man, don’t you realise that there are miles of beach, and starfish all along it? You can’t possibly make a difference!”

The young man listened politely. Then he bent down, picked up another starfish and threw it into the sea, past the breaking waves and said,

“It made a difference for that one.”

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1 Response

  1. Tom Perran says:

    I love this poem. I have it on a poster that hangs in my office at work. Here is the web site where I got it. I know you are in the UK but you might be able to get one sent to you if you like.

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