You Can Lead a Goat to Water…

Waters Edge

…but you can’t make him cross … unless you’re persistent….

Writing can be like the allegory I’ve decided to share about the two baby goats we got a few weeks ago.  Buster and Charlie aren’t little babies anymore.  Although still smaller than the other goats, they’re quite strong for their size, and part of that might have to do with their training.

If a goat is going to help carry your gear in the backcountry, odds are you’ll occasionally need to cross streams.  Goats, however, can be kind of like cats:  They’re clean animals, but don’t like getting into water.  Maybe they think that’s where el chupacabra (aka the monstrous goatsucker) hangs out.

You thwart this tendency by taking them through water before they’ve heard enough chupacabra stories from their elders to get set in their ways (watch the movie Jaws and see how soon you feel like swimming in the ocean).

Each weekend we’ve loaded them into the back of the pickup and visited a nearby stream.  You see, streams are crooked, so if you try to walk it in a straight line, you’ll have to cross the water several times.

Now Buster is the more athletic one, but Charlie is braver.  The first time we took them out to get their feet wet, we waded into the ankle-deep stream the length of their leashes, the next gravel bar right behind us, and encouraged them to follow.

Crossing

They’ll follow us anywhere … but had to contemplate this particular venture.  Somewhere deep in their capricorn instincts lurked murky images of a kelpie/vampire chimera that would drag them beneath the surface while gnawing on their necks.  They uttered soft bleats to each other.

Buster:  We’re gonna need a bigger boat.

Charlie:  What boat?  I only know that our milk-givers still look okay.

Buster:  That’s just because it hasn’t decided which one to eat first.

Charlie:  Oh no – then there’d be nobody to feed us our bottles!

With his priorities in order, Charlie stepped in first and marched right to us.  Seeing that his brother didn’t get ripped beneath the ripples, Buster quickly followed.

Trudge

They can still have instances of hesitation, but by far our pair of pack goats in-training are coming along quite well.  Buster prefers to leap over any part of the stream that’s narrow enough, but Charlie will usually trudge through.  Despite what chupacabra tales the old goats in the pasture might be telling them, their confidence is growing.

Leap

Sometimes writers have their own demons to face as distractions/block/deadlines confront us.  I haven’t heard if there’s such thing as a writer-sucker (Would you call a creature like that a logographage?), but we’ve got to get across that stream of consciousness somehow.  So we wade in and get our feet wet, but it’s up to us whether to trudge or leap to finish the journey … unless we can find a bigger boat….

English, Algorithms, or Other Bait

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Pixabay.com

One of the … hmm … interesting aspects of writing is when you’re typing along and your document program claims you rendered those words incorrectly.

Most of the time I fix it, politely thank the program, and move on.  But, for example, the sentence you just read has been flagged as a fragment.  And it is all because of the phrase politely thank the program.  If I take that out, the program is happy….

This is when I stop being polite.

Hubby does plenty of writing in his work, but because I’m the writer in the family, he’ll hit me with grammar and usage questions when the words don’t add up for him.  His latest inquiry made me scratch my brain….

The clause in question was Worms, minnows, and other bait is not provided.  Word liked the singular verb is over the plural are, although my first impulse when he asked me about it was “We have a plural subject, so the verb must match.”  Then I wondered if the conjunction or made a difference.

(I apologize if this sounds like high school English class … but this nerdy stuff is indispensable if you want to write coherently.)

In other words, I started overthinking it.  Grabbing my trusty Elements of Style proved fruitless at first (Oh, Strunk and White, I never thought I’d see the day….), until I began to apply logic to the matter.

Kirk (the computer killer) and Spock would have been proud … I think.

The trusty handbook had nothing to say about the conjunction or causing an exception to subject-verb agreement.  And when I changed the order of the words in question to bait, worms, or other minnows, the program decided it was happy with the plural are after all.  My theory is the algorithm was hung up on the noun closest to the verb, and the conjunction or might have caused an obsessive-compulsive disorder.

Great, not only are writers of questionable sanity, but the equipment we use might also be neurotic….

I advised Hubby to rudely plunge ahead with the plural are.  But the more I think about it, the more I compulsively ponder if that’s correct … and it’s starting to become an obsession….

Seven Animal Nicknames You Might Not Know

yoda dog
Pixabay.com

One of the aspects about language that makes it so amazing is how we can recombine new words to mean the same thing, but we can choose to be serious or lighthearted in our communication.  Introducing someone as your sister is straightforward.  But introducing her as your parents’ other daughter will cause people to blink rapidly.

When it comes to animals, colorful nicknames often seem more appropriate than their proper designations.  Since we’re playing around with language this week, I thought I’d share a few metaphorical monikers often spouted in the locale around here:

Mini Bears – Known as chipmunks to the uninitiated, campers and backpackers are more apprehending (Or would that be apprehensive?) about the dark side of these furry marauders.  Looking cute is their method of distracting you while their brethren run off with your Cheetos.

Trash Panda – More well-known for their dumpster diving habits, raccoons don’t waste time trying to look cute.  Outright assault and battery is more to their liking, and I’m going to stay away from the mask jokes.

Ditch Crickets – That term for crayfish (or crawdads) isn’t as common up here as it is farther south, but it has more of a ring than creek crickets.  Some folks say water-dwelling crustaceans are just bugs in a different environment, but I say they’re still good eatin’….

Toe Biter – No relation to the ankle biter, this giant water bug (certainly a bug in a different environment) has a habit of attacking anything that moves.  I don’t think anybody would claim these are good eatin’, but it’s possible it thinks we are.

Tree Rats – Even though squirrels are a pretty large rodent, I’d honestly be fine if they were even bigger.  Although they can be a nuisance, they are good eatin’….

Possum on the Half Shell – Once a confirmation that you’d entered the state of Texas, armadillo carcasses now litter the highways in my neck of the woods, too.  They didn’t migrate here until the last couple of decades, and I didn’t hear of this designation until then, but I’m pretty sure they brought that nickname with them.  But for the love of God don’t eat them….

Danger Noodle – When I first requested some familial input to help me remember these animal names, one of the kids immediately insisted this designated snakes.  Honestly, I thought he’d made it up on the spot.  But further investigation confirmed this term is out there, although it’s probably more recent in origin.  I like it enough to call it a keeper, and we won’t discuss if calling it a noodle makes it edible.

And although this last one has nothing to do with animals, its style of description seemed to fit the topic, so I’m throwing it in for free:

Tornado Bait – Trailer houses.  I’m sure you can figure that one out on your own.

These are just the names for my local critters, although I’m sure kangaroos, camels, and capybaras have earned nicknames as well.  It might be fun to go visit your parents’ other offspring, sit down at the table to enjoy a tasty animal, and see what appellations you can come up with….

Burning Bushes

Hot Tea
Pixabay.com

It wasn’t her grandfather Ita was upset with … at least not directly.  Although he was somewhat to blame for the mangled mess of emotions that wrestled within her, she kept a tight rein on the anger that threatened to steamroll everything else.

“I refuse to work with that thing.”  She spoke even as her hands gestured the words, and had to focus on not signing too quickly.  Although Oswald had a communication device that translated her speech into text, her deaf grandfather preferred to give her his full attention.

“He is a man.”  It was only in the last decade he lost his hearing, so Oswald had no trouble speaking, except the inflection of his words tended to fall a bit flat.

“It’s a genetically engineered –”  Ita caught herself nearly making the mistake of using the term human.  “– creature.  We can’t trust it.”

Her grandfather leaned back in the easy chair and sipped from the cup of tea she’d given him.  The upholstered seat was one of the few furniture items in the rather Spartan quarters they shared.  When she first gave it to him as a gift a couple of years ago, he’d gently protested she was spoiling him.  But it pleased her that he enjoyed the subtle luxury it offered.

His gaze leveled over the cup and on her.  “We must.”

“The Red Sea was coming together just fine without that thing’s involvement.”

His lips twitched.  “The Elite haven’t discovered our project … yet.  If they do, Deuce may be our last chance to keep them from destroying it.”

The Elite … barely human themselves anymore, yet representing the worst humanity had to offer.  When Oswald was a young man they began their tyranny of demanding every person submit to the biotechnical improvements they deemed necessary.  During the ensuing war they engineered several atrocities to capture or kill those who resisted, including this thing that now called itself Deuce.

It was one of several Intellectual Militant Prototypes, more commonly called IMPs.  She admitted technically it was a man, but designed to be stronger and faster … and as cunning as a serpent.  This one in particular killed her father three years ago.

Her father … Oswald’s son.  On a certain level, his loss was greater than hers, yet somehow he managed to discover enough grace to forgive that … brute.

And now it claimed to no longer believe the Elite ideology, and offered to help her people….

“It’ll betray us.  How do we know it’s not here precisely to sabotage the Red Sea?”

“He’s cast his lot with us.  Only a handful of IMPs have ever defected to our side before, and the Elite immediately targeted and killed them.  He’s already lasted longer than the others because he’s laid low, helping to train and plan instead of getting involved in battles.”

How unfortunate it had learned from its predecessors’ mistakes.  “That sounds like a convenient scheme to destroy all our work.  It already knows too much.”

“He yearns to atone.  Understanding the project in more depth will help him to best develop the means to defend it.”

“I’m not going to help it bring us to ruin.  Have one of the other team members do it if you insist on taking this gamble.”

Oswald’s features loosened.  “Working with him will be helpful to you.

“I don’t need its help!”  As soon as the words burst from her, Ita wished she could retract them.  She didn’t like showing anger to him.

His somber expression swelled her remorse, and Oswald drew a deep breath as he set his cup on the broad arm of the chair.  He held out both hands, palms up, and she placed her own there.  The warmth from the tea seeped from his skin into hers.

“I ask this of you not only because I know you can do it, but because I pray it will also help you find peace.”

Ita couldn’t imagine how any of this could work.  The IMP couldn’t be trusted and she had no interest in making peace with it.  Yes, she understood she was supposed to forgive it … but what practicality was there in forgiving the snake that struck down her father?

Still … as much as she wanted to spurn her grandfather’s request, the awe and respect she’d always regarded him since childhood had wavered little over the years.  His mind was still sharp and intellect undimmed, but that wasn’t why she reconsidered giving in to his request.

Ita softly pulled her hands from his in order to sign her words.  “Is it worth taking this chance?”

He regarded her steadily.  “Is it worth saving humanity?”

Ita drew a deep breath and shrugged her shoulders before locking her gaze on his.  There was no getting out of this.  Well, there was, but continued refusal would wind up haunting her.  She thought of that reluctant prophet who stood before an unfathomable fire and argued with God that He’d picked the wrong man for the job.  That was an event she could really relate to now….

“All right, I’ll do it,” she grumbled, “but only because you’re the only person who could ever get me to say yes.  But if that Deuce so much as fidgets in a way I don’t like, I won’t be held accountable if he stumbles off a catwalk.”

“I know you’re a better person than that.”

Truthfully, she wasn’t so sure herself.  “Let me freshen up your tea.”

As Ita carried the cup into the kitchen, she pondered how much civility she would have to maintain around that creature.  Maybe her grandfather was right.  Maybe practicing patience around a personification of the devil would be restorative for her.

But she was still going to carry a blaster at all times while it was around.

###

The word for the short story this month on #BlogBattle is Tea, which turned out to work in quite nicely with this installment of the serialization I’m writing.  If you’re new to these stories, you can go to my BlogBattle Short Stories page to catch the previous chapters.  And be sure to check out BlogBattle for all the other tales using this prompt!

How Spoiled Are We?

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Pixabay.com

One factor of these interesting times we live in now continues to be a nuisance:  Some items persist in being difficult to find at the store.  When I had yet another run-in with such a dilemma, I groused to myself that it feels more like living in a socialist country than a democratic republic.  Then my contrarian ego decided to shake up that monologue with a question.

Am I spoiled?

Spoiled usually brings to mind the image of a pampered princess who pouts because she was asked to put her own plate away instead of somebody else doing it for her.  But I have a hunch that if you nabbed a fellow from 1880 and dropkicked him into the present, he’d find us pretty spoiled….

And he’d probably also ask to stay.

We get to toss our clothes in a washer and then pitch them into a dryer instead of building a fire, heating the water in the cauldron, stir in soap (made ourselves from lye) with the clothes, wring them out, hang them on the line, chase the birds away….

Our lives are definitely easier than they were a century ago, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing.  Necessarily?  Yes, it’s pretty standard that everything comes with bad and good mixed together.  It seems our lives have become so easy we’re more readily annoyed by little things.  We have in a way become the pampered princess.

But if making our lives easier is a good thing, then why is being spoiled a bad thing?  The difference all lies in attitude.

We can be grateful … or we can be entitled.

Literature has its share of stories about princesses who start with nothing and appreciate deeper meaning over shallow pleasures when the crown comes to them.  It’s one of the ironies of life that we can’t truly enjoy what we have until we’ve done without:  You don’t realize how wonderful it is to be warm and dry until you’ve experienced being cold and wet.

Are we spoiled?  Well, yes, but if we’re grateful for the good in our lives it will also make us more vigilant about insuring our posterity enjoys life at least as good as we have it, and preferably even better.  If we’re entitled, we only care about ourselves and leave posterity with a mess to clean up.

Speaking of messes, I sure will be grateful when the store gets those darn paper towels back in stock….

Teaching a New Goat an Old Trick

both goats
Aren’t they cute?

Or, How I Got This Baby on the Bottle….

It’s time for another regaling about life on the farm (my go-to when I draw a blank on what to blog about writing).  You see, a few weeks ago I decided it was time to raise and train pack goats (yes, you read that right the first time).

But even though I’ve raised goats for, ahem, decades, we hadn’t been in the baby business for several years because I could no longer commit to milking twice a day.  The brush-control squad we were keeping didn’t qualify as candidates to produce pack goats, so I needed to – and succeeded at – locating a couple of two-week-old kids.

There was one small issue I knew I’d have to confront:  They’d been nursing off their mom, and goat babies are notorious for not liking to switch to a bottle.

Getting them to make this switch is nothing new for me.  In my milking days I’d leave the kids with Mommy the first day or two to insure they’d get their colostrum (a component in early milk that keeps them alive).  Although the babies might go on a hunger strike initially, I’ve never had one starve to death….

We named these bouncing baby boys Charlie and Buster.  In case you didn’t know, they’re named after Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton, two of the most capricious actors that make me crack up laughing.

When feeding time rolled around after we brought them home, Buster wasn’t daunted by the rubber nipple for long.  Once he realized that was milk dribbling into his mouth, he nursed like a champ.

Charlie reacted more the way I expected.  He squawked and turned his head to spit the nipple out.  It’s possible more milk trickled down his chin than his throat.  I shrugged and figured he’d be hungrier in the morning, and figure things out then.

But the next day Charlie didn’t show any improvement.  During breakfast, lunch, and supper, Buster would chug away while his brother cried and spit and invented all kinds of contortions to get that nasty rubber nipple out of his mouth.  By that evening, I’d made up my mind….

nipples
Lamb nipples vs. baby nipples

If Charlie didn’t eat the next morning, it was time to pull out an old trick.

Sure enough, that dawn he behaved as badly as ever.  So as soon as the nearest Dollar General store opened, I hopped in the car to pick up a plastic baby bottle and a package of spare nipples.

Since the silicone nipples for two-legged babies have too small an orifice for four-legged babies, I cut one wider slit across the top (although in previous occasions I’ve had to cut an X to get the milk to really gush out).  After warming a cup’s worth for Charlie, I brought his new bottle out to the barn.

Since Buster believed he was supposed to get a second breakfast, I carried Charlie into the barnyard and cornered him between the fence and my leg.  As usual he resisted as I thrust the nipple into his mouth.  When he settled into his You got it in my mouth but I refuse to suck form of resistance, I gave the bottle a quick squeeze.

Charlie still didn’t move.  I squeezed a second time.

His next reaction could be translated as Where have you been all my life!

Charlie
Charlie’s just a big baby….

Maybe it was also because the nipple was smaller and softer (in my milking days, I always preferred to start kids off with broken-in, softened nipples).  But there’s something about squirting the milk into their mouths that’s more effective than counting on gravity to dribble it.  Charlie guzzled down the milk with as much enthusiasm as Buster … maybe more.

Buster
… Buster likes his milk a little harder.

Once finished, he gave me the goat equivalent of a hug, and since then considers me to be his best friend in the world.  Oh, there is a way to work some philosophy about writing into this piece:  When coming up with the right words seems like a struggle, just try some old trick to get something started (just a squirt), and it’s likely the words will begin to flow.

And I was also able to return to my writing, satisfied with the knowledge my track record of never having a baby goat starve to death on me remains intact….

Let the Good Times Roll

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The other day hubby and one of our offspring returned from hauling wood and asked what the Cajun phrase was for “Let the good times roll.”  After responding it was Lassaiz le bon temps rouler, I inquired why they wanted to know.

They’d had a discussion that if you yell Timber when a tree is about to fall, what would you yell if a log was about to roll over you (I do have a family that tries to be prepared)?  Rolling seemed straightforward enough, but of course they couldn’t leave well enough alone and also came up with Let the good times roll.

Now that’s what I call being optimistic.

That got me to thinking about people who try to make a living at something they enjoy, but the element of work still encroaches on such endeavors (no, you don’t want to know how my mind works).  I’m listening to music as I write this, and shortly will track down a picture to include with the post (yes, you’ve just experienced a ripple in the space-time continuum).

Writing, music, art … some would claim these activities aren’t as necessary as slaying an animal and dragging it back to the cave for consumption (I’m going way back in our history, folks).  But those activities also help to elevate existing to living.

You can just roast that meat over the fire and eat enough to stop your stomach from rumbling.  Or you can add some salt and herbs and experience savory satisfaction that makes you ask for seconds (cooking can be a bit of an art form, too).  While you’re dining, you can add pleasure to the time by telling stories, singing songs, and then paint on the wall a portrait of the critter you ate.

One of our uniquely human traits is appreciating beauty.  The readers, the listeners, and the gazers of the world are enriched by these various art forms.  So while it’s true that trying to produce this stuff can sometimes be a bit of a chore (meeting deadlines, getting the components to jive, etc.), we artsy-fartsy types address one small aspect of helping to make the world a better place.

Yes, sometimes this can feel like work, and the monetary pay often doesn’t seem to match the effort.  But most of us aren’t in it for the money (don’t get me wrong, I do find income useful).  Our greater satisfaction is usually derived from adding some beauty to somebody’s life.

Is that a log rolling this way?  Lassaiz le bon temps rouler…!

Only Other Option

Option
Pixabay.com

“How do I know this wasn’t your plan all along?”  Although his voice was thin and the brogue accent further stilted by flat inflections, Oswald Taggart’s gaze seemed to bore into Deuce.  “We’d be foolish to believe the Elite haven’t caught wind of our plans.”

The question was like a right cross, delivered without warning after Deuce spent a half hour explaining his defection to the elderly man.  Oswald’s gaze was not antagonistic, but Deuce could have sworn it possessed the ability to stretch into his core and twist out his soul, revealing how wretched he really was.

They sat only a meter apart, files and computer components surrounding them as silent witnesses to this interrogation.  Oswald still wore the light overcoat he had on upon entering the room, and Deuce figured he was one of those seniors prone to feeling chilly.

He decided to try a method learned from Zeke, his mentor who Oswald asked to leave when their discussion began.  “So you believe I’ve refined my skills of infiltration to uncover your alternative to this war?”

Oswald studied his face while simultaneously watching the screen of the communication device he held between them.  The man had gone deaf a decade ago – a detail Zeke didn’t tell him until they met – and the device rendered Deuce’s speech into text.

The hand-held device was both anachronistic and a testament.  These people commanded the technology to insert an implant that would enable Oswald to hear.  But their ongoing war with the Elite precluded such conveniences.

This conflict began decades ago with the Elite designing androids that perfectly mimicked people.  These imposters attacked members of the population who refused to accept the enhancements made mandatory by the authoritarians.  The resistors developed means to detect the hidden technology.  But that made using it on themselves for medical reasons, which they accepted, compromising to their own people.

So the Elite next developed fully biological infiltrators to evade detection, super soldiers genetically engineered to carry out orders, but proving to lack necessary skills to adapt to deviations.  Deuce himself was a representative of their next innovation, retaining physical prowess but also designed as a strategist.

Oswald’s gaze focused on his face.  “Is that an off-hand confession?”

“I’m not sure there’s anything I can say to ease your suspicion.”  Deuce’s conscience writhed.  Earlier today he discovered he’d killed this man’s son, but didn’t know if Oswald had been informed of that inadvertent disclosure.

The elder’s lips twitched.  “Surely you aren’t going to admit defeat already?”

“Defeat is not an option.  But why should you believe any of my claims, that my life is now dependent on the success of your resistance?”

“You seek to save yourself?”

His guilt over the death of this man’s son made Deuce reconsider his motivation for defecting from the Elite.  “That was my original intention.  But the time I’ve spent among your people has … opened my eyes.  I thought I understood why you didn’t want to be integrated into the central data core that binds the Elite together.  But I was wrong.  My reasons weren’t your reasons.”

“How so?”

“I questioned their authority.  You … deny it.  They taught me compassion and mercy are weakness, yet that makes you strong.  I came to you, counting on that compassion, with the offer to show you how to be as ruthless as your enemy.”

Oswald studied him but said nothing, so he continued.

“I now know that if good stoops to evil, it was never good to begin with.  So the way good stands up to evil must be … different.  Those are details I’m still working out.”

“You believe the Elite is evil?”

“How can they not be?”  His conscience stirred again.  “They demand the destruction of all who refuse to conform to their standard.  I carried out that task for them.  I … was an instrument of their evil.”

Oswald leaned forward.  “Was?”

His guilt surged.  “I know what I’ve done to you.  To your son.  The assistance I offer will never be able to wash all the blood from my hands.  I can’t fathom why Zeke suggested I should assist you with this project, when I only remind you of your loss.  I regret what they’ve made me, and what I’ve done, but that can never change the past.”

The senior leaned back and stared at Deuce.  During the silence that elapsed for several seconds, Oswald’s gaze softened and he blinked a few times.

“I agreed to this meeting not so much to challenge your offer of assistance,” he murmured, “but to challenge myself if I could truly forgive you.  Part of me wanted you to fail, so I could justify dismissing your humanity.  But this old, deaf father can tell the difference between contrition and blowing smoke, and I see Zeke’s good judgment of character proves him right about you.”

There was nothing comforting about the man’s words.  In fact, Deuce’s conscience cringed even more.

“I don’t deserve your forgiveness.”

“None of us deserve forgiveness, yet it’s always offered.  But you are no more evil than the Elite … and if you can seek redemption, so can they.  This alternative I developed to ongoing war, it’s not only for our survival, it’s also for theirs.”

He stared at Oswald.  “I don’t understand.”

“Some days, neither do I.”

The elderly fellow stood and shrugged off his coat.  Deuce recognized the black shirt with a white collar, but it took a couple of seconds to realize that Oswald wasn’t just an astrophysicist – another detail Zeke left out.  The revelation caused a tremor at the pit of his stomach he couldn’t explain.

“Just what is this alternative?”

Oswald studied him for a few seconds before replying.  “How familiar are you with the story of Moses?”

###

Here is this month’s contribution to #BlogBattle, and for me the word for this round turned out to be the exact opposite of its meaning:  Wretched!  Ooh, you know there’s got to be some great stories with a prompt like that, so don’t miss on checking them out.

Who Do You Love to Hate?

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Pixabay.com

Antagonists – every story needs them.  Whether it’s somebody as in-your-face as Lord Voldemort or as invisible as the cold that will kill the explorer if he doesn’t succeed at lighting a fire, they provide the conflict at the heart of any tale.

Real life in the last few months has brought about a thought experiment that got me pondering where villains come from.  You’ve probably heard the mantra about how each character is the hero in his or her personal story.  It’s easy to think of bad guys as power-hungry sadists, but sometimes people antagonize others because they mean well, but they’re misguided….

That’s kind of where you run across the other mantra that truth is stranger than fiction.

What antagonist do you find the juiciest?  The evil villain that wants to rule the world, or the self-proclaimed do-gooder who actually causes more harm?

That’s a hard choice to make.  I might need to read some more stories to help me decide … and that leads to A BRIEF ANNOUNCEMENT.

Smashwords is having their annual Summer/Winter Sale (depends on your hemisphere).  Membership is free, and until the end of July many e-books are available at a discount (including mine, of course).

Just click here to get started.  I hope alerting you to the sale was helpful and that I haven’t inadvertently caused any harm….

Indian Time, Revisited

Indian Time
Pixabay.com

Many millennia ago our ancestors, who spent lots of time outdoors, noted that positions of stars in the night sky heralded the change of seasons in the year.  This was important to know.  If you want to eat, it’s helpful to anticipate when the herds move or edible plants grow.

Exactly where the sun rose and set on the horizons was another important harbinger, especially when we adopted an agricultural lifestyle.  If you want to eat, it’s important to know when to sow and get the harvest on time.  Determining the annual cycle even led to cool architecture like Stonehenge.

Fast forward to the present.  Most of the population is urban, and they spend more time indoors (as a relative once observed, it’s where there’s TV and no bugs).  If you want to know when it’s time to eat, look at your watch (if you’re retro) or phone.

You may or may not have heard of Indian time.  I heard it most often when we lived in Oklahoma, within the jurisdiction of the Creek Nation (in case you didn’t know, tribal jurisdictions in Oklahoma are what was left after the government broke all the other treaties).   When somebody was late, the joking explanation sometimes given was that they were running on Indian time.

And yes, even the Native Americans made that joke.

What we call Indian time here in the States could go by any other moniker both here and abroad:  Hillbilly time, Farmer time, Ancestral time … it’s a way of living regimented more by the world around us than artificial timepieces.

Don’t get me wrong – I appreciate that when I show up for an appointment at the dentist’s office, ten other people don’t arrive at the same time because we were all scheduled for in the morning.  Living by the clock has its advantages.

You probably didn’t notice I’d fallen behind on posting to this blog.  Yes, I was on Indian time, but that doesn’t mean I was just being lazy.  Quite the contrary, matters pertaining to farm and family needed more of my attention for a while.

Running on Indian time might make you late now and then, but that’s because you were tending to priorities.  In this world of instant gratification, getting slowed down once in a while could be beneficial.  Maybe you stopped to smell the roses.  Maybe you took some extra time to play with your kids.  Regardless, you took some time to savor living in the here and now.

Wow, that’s more serious than I usually get.  Is it time to eat yet?