Skip to main content

The master and the message in the bottle

I am a parent, futurist, and technologist. My career has spanned the birth of personal computers to the rise of cloud computing.

Master if you die who will share the lessons with us?

The Master has been at the school for many years. In that time, he collected many sayings, quotes, and interesting thoughts. Some he often said a loud to his students but some were never shared. They were collected over many years. Some were wonderful, like life. Some were lessons that had not yet been completed. Some were lessons that were now complete. Some were answering the questions asked by other great masters.

The master would often go to the shore where the ocean waves pounded the beach, and he would watch the waves and think through the problems he had not yet solved. He would revel in the problem that worse all, and of course, sometimes he would think of new problems. It became a ritual for him to go to the be and take the time to think.

One Spring day the master did not go to the beach. When the master did not come at the time of class, the students went looking for him. They found him in a small room lying on his bed in pain. They rushed him to the doctor. When they got to the doctor she was honestly afraid that it was too late. That the old master would not survive whatever it was that had knocked him down.

Spring turned into summer, and still, the master was ill. Every day the students would come in, the master would give them a quote from his vast store of quotes and problems. One day the students went to the hospital where the master had only found his bed empty. Fearing the worst, the Student sought out the doctor. Has the master passed? The students asked. The doctor smiled and said no, he was released this morning. The students smiling knew right where to find the master. They walked to the beach, and there the master was contemplating the waves contemplating the problem solved, contemplating the problems not yet so, and coming up with new problems.

They bowed to the master as they entered the classroom and took their seats. The lesson was taught, the problems were revealed. As the master was about to release them, one of the students rose and said, master? May I ask a question?

The master smiled and said, of course, you may.

The Student asked the master, if you die, who will give us the quotes and the problems?

The master smiled, paused for a moment, and then said I do not have an answer for your question, give me time, and I will see if I can find one.


To this day the students comb the beach looking for bottles.

The next morning as was his won't, the master wandered to the beach and contemplated the Student's question. Perhaps it was the universe knowing his distress, or perhaps it was simply luck. But as the master sat there, he watched the bottle bob in the ocean. The bottle finally reached the mean in the master walked from the grassy knoll where he usually sat, ending by the bottle. Finding the bottle, he noticed a piece of paper in it, and it was sealed with wax. The paper was untouched by the seawater. He peeled off the wax, gently putting it in his pocket so as not to face the beat. He slid the note gently out of the bottle, and it simply read, if you find this note, thank you. The master pondered that for a moment that someone would place a message in the ocean. And then the master realized the universe had given him the answer to his Student's question.

The next day as the class came to the room, the master called upon the Student that asked the question yesterday; the Student rose in the master said I had pondered your great questions Student smiled, for his question had been called great. I have an answer for you; the master said I will write each of the quotes I am saying, problems I have solved, and the problems I cannot yet solve and roll that paper up. Then, I will slide that paper into a bottle. The master sealed the bottle with wax. Each day I will take that bottle with the note inside, and I will throw it into the ocean where it goes from there. We will never know. But I will have stored and shared all of my quotes, problems, and thoughts and shared them with the universe.

The Student that asked the question smiled and said, "Master, throwing the bottle and message into the ocean is an interesting solution to my question." Then, the Student sat back down.

The next morning the master wrote down his first and favorite quote. It was a response to a famous line from a famous poem. The line from the poem why the caged bird sing? The master had pondered that for many mornings and had finally come to the realization that the caged bird sings because the cage contains its body; the cage never touched its soul. He then threw the bottle as far as he could into the ocean and watched as the riptide pulled it away from shore. The master, who lived for five more years, kept his promise throwing the sealed bottle into the ocean. Then, on the day prophetically that the master would die, he wrote a note now I am done by. And through that into the ocean. To this day his former students walk to the beach and always, watch for bottles of wisdom.

© 2021 DocAndersen

Related Articles