The Ways of “Z” and “K”
Characters: Two work horses, one young, one older
Location: adjoining barn stalls
Time: break of day sun rise
Action: discussing the days work ahead
The sun was just breaking over the hill, streaming its first rays of light into the barn, coming in upon two work horses in the adjoining stall, which faced out to the northeast.
“Z” had awakened from his night of sleep with characteristic youthful vigor, and anxious to be out and about. Knowing that he was a part of a team, he turned to his team-mate called “K” and spoke asking, “Are you awake, K?”, going on without waiting for an answer with more questions and statements. “I can hardly wait to get out there in the field. I saw a place yesterday that looked like it had never been plowed. I want to go there and get my feet on it, and my shoulders at work breaking up the ground, don’t you?”
“K”, being the older of the two, had learned in his years to pace himself, and to think things through, unlike “Z”. In simple, quiet ways he showed this, his manner of doing things. He had turned his head towards “Z” at his first question, ‘Are you awake’, but knowing his team-mate, he did not interrupt the words he knew would follow.
At the end of Z’s questions, he finally said, “Yes, I’m awake; I’ve been awake for some time. I’ve been thinking about yesterday’s work and wondering what might be ahead for today; where will I be used; what will I be called on to do?”
He went on to say, “I like this time of day, just before a lot of things happen. In the quietness and ‘near’ light I can think clearly, I can hear clearer also. I can even see deeper into things all about me, more than I can during the rest of the day. I make sure that I take advantage of it every day that I can; I make it a must for me.”
Having said all that he intended to say, he bowed his head, lowering it into the feed rack in front of him, and began to eat. “Z” resumed his words almost as if he had not heard any that had been spoken by “K”. He was caught up in his own thing, that of wanting to be out there, ‘doing something good.’ Saying to “K”, “come on, let’s get out of here, we can do the whole area before nightfall. I’m young and strong, and you’re strong enough to keep up with me; we can do it, it’s no problem; come on.”
“K”, not wanting to overly dampen Z’s passion, simply said the things that were obvious to him, but were being totally missed by “Z”. He said, “It’s wise to take time to eat and drink before going out to work each day. Yesterdays food was used up doing yesterdays work, and now is the time to get prepared for today. Take time now to eat and drink; you don’t know what you will be doing today, but whatever it is, you will need your strength, and that’s what food is for.” He turned back to his eating, hoping that “Z” would take his advice and do the same.
When he had eaten what he had new to be enough, he stopped eating, and then turning his head, he saw that his advice was being taken. Taking the opportunity, he said to “Z,” who was now enjoying his food, “I’ve seen that field that you are so anxious to work in, but I’ve seen it longer than you. I have even worked in it myself and know that it is more difficult to work than it appears.
I have seen man, horses, young and old, working in it, and have seen many who were broken down after doing so. Some have been known to have been left in there, not willing, then not able to come out. The place is full of hidden rocks, some where hard rock lay underneath a thin covering of soil; also places that are called swamp-bogs.
It is a place that needs to be walked over and surveyed by someone who knows how before working in it. I’ve seen seed sown there that was quickly burned up; some seed never got to root or shoot. I have seen some seed take root and grow but then be choked out by all the weeds and vines which were more deeply rooted or simply stronger and grew up with them. They are like parasites which feed on the healthiness of the others. I have learned not to want to pick which field I will or will not work in, choosing rather to wait until the master hitches me up, and leads me out to what it is that he wants me to do today.
I also want to plow that same field, but I have been given time and a place to work in, by my master. It’s smaller but it was his choice for me. Should he choose to allow me to work in a portion of it, I am ready and willing, but limit myself to obeying him. So I spend the day, from sunrise to sunset, listening to his voice and doing what he says to do. I was told, when I was younger like you, that I would hear a voice behind me saying, ‘This is the way, walk in it’ I now hear that voice more clearly, and I do what it tells me.”
“Z” looked up from his eating and looked at “K” quizzically, saying nothing. At that moment the master came into the barn, and into the stall where they were and said, “I have chosen the place where I want you to work today, also what I want you to do while you are out there. Come on; let’s be about it, for night will come. “Zeal,” I’m going to hook you up with “Knowledge” in the lead.” And he led them out.
Excerpt from book: “Stories with Lessons”
Written by: claude robert
My Willies Publishing Company