Thursday, 11 March 2010

Growing and Misfortune.

There is a wonderful feeling as the new season of growth comes upon us, that feeling of new beginnings and hope. The ground no longer solid with frost is beginning to yield to the spade. There is the joy of deciding what kind of crops will be grown. The varieties chosen may depend on what has grown well in the past. Talking with an old friend, he was telling me that as he gets older he finds the turning of the soil harder each year and also the amount of produce he requires gets less. Yet he looks forward to the planting and the tending of his crop. Like me he gets pleasure from being able to give to others the fruits of his labour.

There is a lovely story of the traveller who on his journey came across an old man planting a tiny almond tree. Now almond trees take a long time to grow and mature to the point of giving fruit. The traveller said to the old man, “I am surprised to see one as old as you planting such a tree that will take so long to produce.” The old man looked at him, thought for a moment, and then replied, “I live my life on two principles. The first one is that I will live forever. The second one is that this is my last day.”

Who ever knows if they will see the fruits of their labour? But then if they do not some other will. The seed planted or the small tender shoot is unaware of whom it is that is planting and caring for it. Its purpose is to grow.

There was an old farmer who owned a horse, to help him plough the land. One day the horse ran away. The farmers’ neighbours came to offer their sympathy. The old farmer shook his head, “I am not sure it is a misfortune,” he said. The neighbours not understanding left. The next day his horse returned bringing with it two wild horses. The neighbours returned to congratulate him on his good fortune. “I am not at all sure it is good fortune,” he replied. Again they left bemused.

The old farmers’ son was trying to tame one of the horses and was kicked and his leg was broken. Again the neighbours came to offer sympathy for his misfortune. Again he replied saying, “I am not sure it is a misfortune.” They thought he was going mad.

The next day the Emperor came past the farm looking for young men to be part of his army to help him fight a war. The farmers’ son could not go because of his broken leg.

We never know what tomorrow will bring so we live today as if it is our last, but we live it as if we were going to live forever.

So today I will attempt to produce to the best of my ability whether it is in painting or digging. In preparing or finishing. I know that whatever I do this day will have its repercussions.

This is the way of Tao.

The Story of the Art used on this thought can be seen at:- Coming Home To Roost


  1. I have two things I do to the best of my abilities each day....and creating a work of art is not included...for no matter how I strive I am always trying to better what I produce visually.
    The one I do daily is to talk to someone I have never met and to encourage them to speak of themselves....and the second is to leave them smiling with a new sense of who they are.

    These are my daily best; for everyone has a dream in the midst of their reality and everyone needs a smile; and, sometimes a hug also.

    For, without laughter, the days are just too long; and once I see that smile or hear that laugh....I can then proceed to give all other daily tasks the best of my endeavours.

  2. Hi back Ralph!.... Thank "You" for your wonderful and encouraging email. "I" chose to visit your lovely sites... not at all searching for comparisons to my own work. "I" feel comfortable in the pursuit of my own work and the discoveries "I" make on my own journey.

    "I" was attracted by the spiritual nature of your thoughts... and how they form the "abstract" of your unique journey. There is a sense of Tao... call it whatever "You" wish... Inner Peace... True Self... there are many ways. "I" feel that we both share "parallel" journeys... yet have never met.

    Spooky thought to some!

    We artists are all almonds Ralph. We take many years to bear fruit... and we share the same trunk through which we draw sustinence from the Earth around us. "We" quietly do our best... live day to day... and grow little by little but never stop growing or yielding fruit... until we are gone.That is our purpose for "Being".

    Happy Spring my Friend,
    Good Painting!
    Warm regards,