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Signage for Life

This morning on the way to work I took a bike path as a shortcut and saw this sign instructing us all on how to yield properly. I’m not sure how the horses are expected to read it but apparently they are not expected to yield so they will do the right thing naturally. Basically, the theme here seems to be don’t run each other down or block someone’s way.

And that’s not a far stretch from ‘do unto others as you would have done unto you.’ But as you can see, the sign is dirty and battered and resembles what’s happened to the Golden Rule in a lot of ways.

We’re usually pretty good at not running into each other, partly because it’s obvious and it hurts. Just be respectful, choose safety, and avoid bloodshed.

It’s blocking each other that gets us in trouble and leads to the need for signs. Blocking in football requires deliberate full body contact, but in daily life it is subtle and insidious. We don’t always notice how our choices impact others, how our hurries and worries cause us to get in the way of someone else. Rush hour intersections are a great example; they are filled with cars hoping to make the light and instead blocking the flow of traffic. It’s not that people are trying to get in the way, it’s that they’re not trying not to. Drivers try to beat the lights instead of yielding, submitting, surrendering to forces beyond their control.

We’ve all been there – thinking of everything on our to do list, the busy day we just had, thinking of everything except where we are and what we’re doing. We go through life automatically, without connecting with our world, somehow thinking that we’re in control simply because we haven’t had a collision. Meanwhile we’re surrounded by miles of blocked traffic that we ourselves have caused.

And so we have signs reminding us to yield to beautiful creatures, great and small, whenever they come upon us.

And look out for horse droppings…


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