As we begin this next installment of “The Park” the Woman is quite distraught…
“The first thing that the Woman noticed when she entered the Park was the silence.
Everywhere she looked she saw signs and fences and locked gates. Immediately, she called a meeting of the overseers.
‘How nice to see you have returned,’ they exclaimed, ‘Have you noticed how well we have maintained the Park in your absence?’
‘Maintained the Park well?‘ she responded. ‘I called this meeting to find out what went wrong!’
The overseers looked confused. ‘But the flowers and lawns have never looked better, or more colorful or more lush,’ they began, somewhat defensively. ‘The wear and tear the Park undergoes hardly even shows.’
‘What wear and tear?,’ the Woman queried. ‘This Park is supposed to be a refuge and a source of joy for all of the people of the city, and now even the children don’t seem to feel welcome. What have you done?’
The overseers were crest-fallen. ‘We only tried to do what you asked us to do,’ they said.
‘But what about the most important thing?,’ she retorted. ‘Just before I left, I told you never to forget that this Park is here for the people, and everything that you do must be done to serve their needs.’
For a moment all sat in thoughtful silence. Then the overseer who had been elected by the rest as the superintendent spoke. ‘We didn’t forget,’ he declared. ‘All we’ve done is cracked down on those who would destroy the beauty of the Park.’
The Woman sighed. These people were, on the whole, good and dedicated stewards and she did not regret her choices. Despite all of their formation, and the resources with which she had gifted them, however, they seemed to have totally missed the point.
“Of course I understand,” the Woman responded, ‘that there are certain ways of using the Park which are inconsiderate of the needs of others, or that would destroy its’ beauty, and that care must be taken to prevent them from happening. What I don’t understand, however, is why you’ve given this one part of your job such exclusive importance.'”
…next time, the Woman points to a better way.