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The Star Thrower by Loren Eisley

A friend of ours was walking down a deserted Mexican beach at sunset. As he walked along, he began to see another man in the distance. As he grew nearer, he noticed that the local native kept leaning down, picking up something and throwing it out into the water. Time and time again, he kept hurling things into the water.

As our friend approached even closer, he noticed that the man was picking up, starfish that had been washed up on the beach, and one at a time he was throwing them back into the water. Our friend was puzzled. He approached the man and said, "Good evening, friend. I was wondering what you were doing."

"I'm throwing these starfish back into the ocean," answered the man. "You see, it's low tide right now, and all of these starfish have been washed up onto the shore. If I don't throw them back into the sea, they'll die up here from lack of oxygen."

"I understand," our friend replied. "But there must be thousands of starfish on this beach. You can't possible get to all of them. There are simply too many. And don't you realize that this is probably happening on hundred of beaches up and down this coast? Can't you see that you can't possibly make a difference?"

The local native smiled, bent down and picked up yet another starfish. As he threw it back into the sea, he replied, "Made a difference to that one."


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