A simple fable: The Angles
A small mountainside village
Eugene Horto is one of the many lumber-jacks working in his small village. Each day he made the long walk through the mountain passes to where him and his friends begun chopping down large Mountain Oaks the old-fashioned way using axes. Each evening was spent sharpening the axes in preparation for the following days work.
Many in the village had wondered why Eugene had not followed in the footsteps of his father and become mayor. At the time, he simply said in his own quiet way that doing so would take him away from the precious time he can spend with his wife and two children. His family’s gain was the town’s loss as he was a loyal and smart man.
This made the events that occurred on that summer evening all the more bizarre. It had been a long day’s work felling trees. Eugene enjoyed the physical nature of the work and how it could transport his mind away from the day-to-day tasks, almost like meditation.
After completing his work for the day he began the long walk home. Through glades and mountain passes he walked. The commute was a perfect opportunity to decompress from the day’s work and leave his troubles behind – not that work was any trouble. The surrounding nature filled his heart with glee.
As he walked along the small mountain trail, approaching the final bend that signaled the beginning of the village where he lived, he spotted Alfonse off ahead sitting on a low wall. Alfonse was cruelly referred to as the village idiot by those less inspired villagers. To Eugene, he was just a kind and pleasant lad whose cards had been cruelly dealt.
As Eugene approached Alfonse, walking along the grassy trail he felt the weight of the ax resting upon his shoulder. Perfectly balanced, it neither bruised his shoulder blade nor felt insubstantial.
Closer still. Eugene looked to Alfonse to see what he was doing. Alfonse was simply sitting on the wall. His round back curved. His long neck and heavy head drooping in a maudlin, almost melancholic way.
Within talking distance, Eugene held off saying anything. He looked upon Alfonse and could see the curve of his neck from the nape up to the top of his ear. The angle of his torso making a perfect angular arc.
Eugene steadied the axe upon his shoulder and gripped the handle from the end with one hand and placed his other palm on the same midway point he’d always used when working.
Then, just as the point arrived where most folk would regularly put out their hand in preparation for a handshake, Eugene raised an elbow and dropped the ax head and swung. The sweeping arc of the ax head carved through the Mountain air without so much as a whistle. The sharp edge of the blade neatly made contact with Alfonse at the base of his hairline. And with that, his drooping head dropped.
The following days were a whirlwind within the village. How could this have happened? What was Eugene thinking? His wife cried warm salty tears trying to understand what could’ve ever come over her adoring husband.
So the day came when Eugene was brought before the judge. This loyal and smart man who probably could’ve been a judge himself stood there in the dock awaiting his fate.
After days of back-and-forth the judge finally summed up the villages frustrations and asked Eugene the burning question. Whatever made you do such a thing?
Eugene looked at the judge and around the courtroom. His eyes seeking out the friends and family he’d known all his life. The answer that swirled around his mind in the intervening days, clear and concise.
All eyes were on him. Why, why, why.
He stood up, faced the judge and said. Well, your honor, the angle was right.
There are moments in life where there is a perfect alignment of the planets. You just have one of those days when everything goes right for you. The perfect moment when your training, experience and time on the planet is all so focused in on one point in time.
Perhaps it’s the perfect golf shot. Perhaps the ideal time to tell someone you love them and you knowing in your heart of hearts, that this is right. Everything has led up to this point.
Eugene’s tale highlights that moment. His lifetime experiences chopping down trees had perfected a motion and symmetry of poetry and art in motion. Unfortunately for Alfonse, the seating position and angle of his spine and neck made for the most perfect chopping angle, man and machine in synchronicity.
Even if the results are dreadful, sometimes these perfect moments are the culmination of many factors all leading towards this turning point, where the angle just seems right. It’s those days when the results are gorgeous which make it all worthwhile.