A Fence or an Ambulance

I came across this poem the other day...it truly makes you stop and think. Are our actions truly preventing or reacting? Sometimes there is a solution that seems too simple to be useful. When I was in University, a large focus of our Kinesiology program was how active living could prevent diseases and conditions altogether. I recall thinking to myself "so why don't people just exercise?" I still am not sure why people tend to wait until a state of crisis before taking action. Choosing a healthy lifestyle- what we eat, how we move, healthy stress response and optimal neurological function- is an important fence we can build to live a happy, high quality life!
 
A Fence or an Ambulance   by Joseph Malins (1895) 

'Twas a dangerous cliff, as they freely confessed, 

though to walk near its crest was so pleasant; 

but over its terrible edge there had slipped

a duke and full many a peasant.

So the people said something would have to be done, 

but their projects did not at all tally; 

some said, 'Put a fence 'round the edge of the cliff, '

some, 'An ambulance down in the valley.'

But the cry for the ambulance carried the day, 

for it spread through the neighboring city; 

a fence may be useful or not, it is true, 

but each heart became full of pity

for those who slipped over the dangerous cliff; 

And the dwellers in highway and alley

gave pounds and gave pence, not to put up a fence, 

but an ambulance down in the valley.

'For the cliff is all right, if your careful, ' they said, 

'and if folks even slip and are dropping, 

it isn't the slipping that hurts them so much

as the shock down below when they're stopping.'

So day after day, as these mishaps occurred, 

quick forth would those rescuers sally

to pick up the victims who fell off the cliff, 

with their ambulance down in the valley.

Then an old sage remarked: 'It's a marvel to me

that people give far more attention

to repairing results than to stopping the cause, 

when they'd much better aim at prevention.

Let us stop at its source all this mischief, ' cried he, 

'come, neighbors and friends, let us rally; 

if the cliff we will fence, we might almost dispense

with the ambulance down in the valley.'