Thursday, 26 May 2011

LIfe Is Full Of Hard Knocks

I so often see anxious parents, anxious about so many things that might happen to their offspring in this harsh world. I watched a mother and child yesterday as I walked down towards the village, the child beside her was wearing a harness to which the mother had a firm grip. Also, around the child’s wrist there was strap, the other end attached likewise to the wrist of the mother.  Gone are the days when holding on to the child’s hand was enough.  

I can fully understand the need for care but I sometimes wonder if we have just maybe become so anxious that we have gone too far the other way.

This makes me think of a recent programme I watched about the birth of a giraffe.

Bringing a giraffe into the world is a tall order. A baby giraffe falls 10 feet from its mother’s womb and usually lands on its back. Within seconds it rolls over and tucks its legs under its body. From this position it considers the world for the first time and shakes off the last vestiges of the birthing fluid from its eyes and ears. Then the mother giraffe rudely introduces its offspring to the reality of life.

The mother giraffe lowers her head long enough to take a quick look. Then she positions herself directly over her calf. She waits for about a minute, and then she does the most unreasonable thing. She swings her long, pendulous leg outward and kicks her baby, so that it is sent sprawling head over heels.

When it doesn’t get up, the violent process is repeated over and over again. The struggle to rise is momentous. As the baby calf grows tired, the mother kicks it again to stimulate its efforts. Finally, the calf stands for the first time on its wobbly legs.
Then the mother giraffe does the most remarkable thing. She kicks it off its feet again. Why? She wants it to remember how it got up. In the wild, baby giraffes must be able to get up as quickly as possible to stay with the herd, where there is safety. Lions, hyenas, leopards, and wild hunting dogs all enjoy young giraffes, and they’d get it too, if the mother didn’t teach her calf to get up quickly and get with it.

When you look at the lives of some of the great artists and the hero’s of history you notice they have two things in common. Firstly they have a burning ambition and need to achieve. Secondly they all have a hard time in arriving at the point where they can claim to have possibly fulfilled the dream.

They are beaten over the head, knocked down, vilified, and for years they get nowhere. But every time they’re knocked down they stand up. You cannot destroy these people. And at the end of their lives they’ve accomplished some modest part of what they set out to do.

In this blog I have often kept returning to the idea of dreams and hopes . I have many such hopes and dreams as you are aware. I just hope that one day I like them will feel I have gone some way to accomplishing them.

My other blog has a short poem on this theme with my latest abstract artwork based around this idea of dreams and hopes, and journeys.

One day I hope to get back from the constant desire to paint abstract.

This blog is linked to my other.  Summer Dreams - The Journey.


  1. Feels a bit like that today Ralph - thanks for your comments - back on my feet !!

  2. Nature seems to be cruel, doesn't it? But it's just unvarnished, lacking sentimentality, and based on the facts.

    My own inclination was to cushion life for my sons as they were growing, but soon enough I realized that the pain of consequences earned was much more persuasive than any lecture I delivered. I am happy to say that they are wise young men, who mostly do the right thing and know from experience the sting of consequences. Thanks for posting your thoughtful stories. I never tire of them!

  3. Ralph I never heard this about Giraffes..although I knew the baby had to fall the distance! Your thoughts about the over protective mother rings a bell for me! I remember when it was ok to have a dirty faced boy. We didn't worry about what he picked up. He got a bath at night and woke the next morning and got dirty again! My boys were healthy as young oxen..they got baths at night, played outside in the dirt and laid in the grass..I think the germs they encountered made them strong!

  4. I love the energy of this painting, the colors are just wow!

    And I like all your considerations.

  5. thanks for the thought provoking post...I agree the pendulum has swung too far an opposite direction and youngsters have been overly coddled! No wonder they are so spoiled. I often say, what this situation needs is MY Mother to whoop some a** haha

    what did you mean: "One day I hope to get back from the constant desire to paint abstract". Please elaborate!

  6. Hi Ralph. I think you hit it right on the head. It isn't enough to wish to do well at something, it's the constant push one gives, the momentum to try and retry over and over again that brings one to achieve. Whining about it just waste's precious time...

  7. I loved the vibrancy of this abstract.. well, we need to maintain such vibrancy in life even when we are the lowest of testing times,, for me, it is happening just now, what is the fun in life if you dont face the challenge and bounce back..we need to push..push:-)Wish humans could be as articulate as the Giraffe!

  8. And I find my heart breaking for that baby giraffe. Maybe I should have been more like those giraffe mamas though...