The Dull Road

by Edgar Guest

It’s the dull road that leads to the gay road;
the practise that leads to success;
the work road that leads to the play road;
it is trouble that breeds happiness.

It’s the hard work and merciless grinding
that purchases glory and fame;
it’s repeatedly doing, nor minding
the drudgery drear of the game.

It’s the passing up glamor or pleasure
for the sake of the skill we may gain,
and the giving up comfort or leisure
for the joys that we hope to attain.

It’s the hard road of trying and learning,
of toiling, uncheered and alone,
that wins us the prizes worth earning,
and leads us to goals we would own.

That Squealing Second Pig

Ideology Meets Reality

I was reading an interesting anecdote yesterday which reminded me a lot of a story my mother-in-law would tell. The central character in yesterday’s tale was a Frenchman and tells how he gave up on Communism. When he discovered that, if/when Communism came into effect in France, he was going to lose half the francs he had saved, he dropped out of the Party.

Coins equal.Kevin schneider
Image: Kevin Schneider at Pixabay

The tale Mom told must have been adapted to the Canadian prairies. Apparently back in the 1920s and 30s, the goals of Communism sounded quite noble and had a fair bit of appeal to some average working people. Mom said it was quite common to hear people going on about how communism could make the world — or at least some people’s lot in life so much better.

As mom told it, two farmers were visiting and the one — I’ll call him Percy — was going on enthusiastically about how things would change for the better once the Communists took over in this country. Which they surely would, he assured his neighbour. I’ll call him Bert.

“There’ll be no more poverty, no more crime,” Percy was saying. “Everyone will work for the good of all. Everything will be shared equally. All those farmers with big herds and lots of land will have to share with the guy who has none.”

“So what you’re saying is that, if you had ten sheep you’d give me five,” Bert asked.

“That’s right.”

“And if you had four cows, you’d give me two?”

“Sure thing. That’s exactly how Communism will work. Everyone will have the same,” Percy assured him.

“And if you had two pigs, you’d give me one.”

“Yes, of course I… Now hold on here, Bert! You know I have two pigs!”

According to Mom, this was where Communism as a theory ran smack into the reality of human nature. People who have nothing are quite ready to receive, but as soon as they have to give up something themselves — like their second pig — the whole scheme breaks down.

In more recent years I read the account of a girl in the eastern States whose parents, along with many others during the 1930s, were so enthused about this ideology that they sent their children to a summer camp where socialism was taught and practiced as a model for future society. (Or where children would be indoctrinated, if you want to be a skeptic.)

The children at this camp would receive packages from their parents at home, and the rule of the camp was: “Whatever you get, you share with the others in your cabin.” One day she received a package from home and opened it. Her eyes lit up. Among other things her mother had sent along the girl’s favorite candy bar.

She reached for it eagerly, then thought about the sharing rule. She imagined her bar split six ways; it would give each of the cabin mates — herself included — a very small piece. Yes, she was supposed to share. But it was her bar; her mother sent it for her. Furtively she slipped it into her sweater pocket and hurried outside behind the cabin. Renouncing socialism, she ate the whole bar herself — and enjoyed every last bite.

Almost all of us seem to recognize that some government-enforced “public sharing” (like income tax) is necessary to keep things running efficiently. Communes may work for a time because membership is — at least initially — a voluntary thing. But Communism, that great theory of universal brotherhood and sharing, has proven unsuitable to human nature. And human nature has been a fairly constant thing through the years. 🙂

Empty Nesters Again

Good afternoon — or whatever time of day it is as you read this note. The storms and cold a few days ago have passed again and we’re enjoying a lovely summer afternoon. Crops and gardens are soaking up the sunshine; having soaked up last week’s rain they’re growing abundantly.

Last Thursday the last of our sheltered nestlings discovered the wonders of the wide world outside their cozy home. These are the barn swallow babies which have grown up in our garage. (It’s open along the top sides when the rafters join the sides walls, lacking the siding and finishing touches. (Next big project.)

I didn’t notice their nest until it was built, and since barn swallows are a threatened species and it’s against the law to tear down a nest finished and in use, I spread old vinyl tablecloths under it, parked outside, and left them be. They’re with us such a short time.

Four eggs hatched. Sadly, one baby fell to its death, but the other three are vigorous and are out exploring the yard as I write this. Now we can reclaim our garage while they devour the mosquitoes whose bites have given me red lumps and so much torment this summer. I’ve had some pretty severe reactions after being outdoors this summer, though I’m not sure if it was always mosquitoes or some other tiny creature.

For the past couple of months WordPress has been notifying me that my domain Christine Composes is about to expire and I should renew it. Like my original poetry blog, Swallow in the Wind, it was a neat name for the time, but I’ve decided to just let it go.

The only glitch might be that some of you may be subscribed to that domain name and been automatically switched to this site when I moved. If you stop getting my blog posts after August 13th, please resubscribe to christinegoodnough.com.

As I said, I brought several sites together here and am not sure how each reader will be affected, but I plan to post something every morning for the next couple of weeks so you can be sure that you’re still subscribed.

Wishing you all the best!

Fields + Flutters

Good morning everyone! Absolutely clear blue sky above and a mainly day ahead for us; Environment Canada predicts a high of 28 C/ 82 F. On a day like this you can almost hear the garden grow and see the flowers stretching up. 🙂

Canola
Canola fields in full bloom now.

I visited fellow blogger Bill already and read his haiku about a moth. Which inspired me to write a verse of my own, but the words kept coming so I went way beyond haiku limits. Our outside light is an active place after dark, and come morning I see quite a few intriguing “lumps” plastered on the railing below.

Flutters

creature of the night
confused and dazzled
by the artificial sun
round and round it flutters
blink-blinking, tink-tinking
my kitchen light
a host of shadows
flicker along on the wall
come morning I find it pasted
folded in sleep on the coffee jar
from which I hope to extract
some flutter for myself