Friday, August 06, 2010

Alma 39, a parable

You have driven to southern Utah to do some camping and hiking with your 17 year old son, your 10 year old nephew and 6 year old niece. After hiking in, you find a good campsite near some slot canyons you hope to explore and set up camp.

The next morning your niece and nephew wander off to explore the area a bit while you start breakfast and your son reads.  Time passes and they don't return so you call to your son who stuffs the magazine he was reading into his back pocket and the two of you start out to look for them.  It doesn't take long for you to find them standing at the bottom of a small slot canyon, about 10 feet down.  You can see the traces of the small slide they created as they slipped down the side of the canyon.  They are unhurt, but they are unable to get themselves out.  The sides of the canyon are too steep for them to navigate and the ends of the canyon are clogged with debris from earlier flash flooding.

You tell your son to wait with the children and you scurry off to your campsite where you gather up the long rope your father had put in the trunk of your car before your trip.  Returning to the site you realize that there are no trees to which you can tie the ropes but you and your son both weigh significantly more than the two children and you know your nephew has some experience rappelling, so you make a plan.  Handing the rope to your son you instruct him to find a place where he can sit and brace himself and serve to anchor it.  You take the other end and toss it over the side of the canyon, instructing your niece on how to tie it around her waist properly.  She manages to do so with the help of her brother and with some effort you and your son are able to pull her out of the canyon with your father's rope.  Checking to see that your son is well braced for the second rescue, you throw the rope to your nephew who secures himself.  You wedge yourself against a rock and start to pull and he begins the ascent.  As he nears the top you reach out one hand to help him over the edge when suddenly the rope behind you goes slack.  Unable to stop the rope from slipping with just one hand in spite of your frantic efforts, you watch, horrified as your nephew falls back into the canyon.  You yell and quickly  peer over the edge.  He is seated at the bottom of the canyon, doubled over, holding his arm.  You turn around and yell a question to your son asking what happened.  He is sitting where you left him, a magazine at his side. It is quickly apparent to you that while attempting to pull the magazine out of his pocket to look at it, he had lost his grip on the rope.  He was pulling out the magazine to read it!!!???  Now????  You feel the utter dismay and frustration at his thoughtless negligence surge through you.  You tell your nephew to hold on, that you'll try again.  He replies adamantly he can't do that, his arm hurts too much, his ankle is twisted and what if the rope fails again like it did just now?   You do all you can to reassure him that it will work, but having having fallen once he doesn't trust the rope. You turn back to your son and the wind riffles the pages of the magazine beside him.  You realize it's a copy of "Penthouse".

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