Friday, 4 February 2011

The Wise Woman and the Goat

This time of year reminds me of the tale of the wise woman and the goat.

It's great when you realise it has started to get dark at 5pm rather than 4pm. If I get in to work early, for 8am, then through the wonders of flexitime I can potentially be home before dark! It's still dark setting off in the morning, but each day rolls the darkness back a minute or two further. What a tremendous feeling, especially now I am back on the bike after my bad knee injury back at the end of May.

So far I've been cycling in in daylight and home in the dark, even, unwisely, in the mad weather yesterday. Perhaps next week I'll try it the other way round.

So where does the goat come in?

In the old days, a man at the end of his tether went to the village elder. "Auld Senga," he said, "living in our house is intolerable. There's eight of us in a single end."

The wise woman thought about it for a bit. "Take a goat in, and come and see me in a week."

"A goat?!" said the man, but went off and did as he was advised. A week later he returned.

"Things are worse than ever now! There's eight of us AND a goat!"

"Get rid of the goat," said the wise woman, "and come and see me in a week."

A week later the man returned, delighted. "It's great at home now. There's so much space now it is just the eight of us."

In the same way the darkness falling at 5pm, which was shocking and depressing in November, is now deeply encouraging. The first snowdrops and aconites are out. Whether it snows again or not, spring is round the corner.

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