Sunday, August 29, 2010

He that is silent, gathers stones

At first reading this might seem nonsensical. Further thought builds a picture of an angry person suppressing their rage while gathering stones to throw at his enemy. In days gone by, people without weapons found that freely available stones were a pretty effective way of attacking a group of opponents.

The "stones" in the modern world will probably refer metaphorically to verbal weapons of attack. This brings the old saying "Sticks and stones will break my bones but names will never hurt me" to mind. Schoolchildren often chant this when they suffer verbal bullying but the truth is that slanders and evil gossip can cause trouble and harm.

So, if you have enemies who are sullen and silent, it might be wise to remain alert for possible attacks.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

He that swells in prosperity will shrink in adversity

When things go well for you, you begin to think you must be clever. People look up to you and you get a thrill from their envious stares. They obviously recognise how important and successful you are. They try to imitate you but you can leave them standing.

Sometimes success is false. You imagine it is your own effort and ability that has brought it about. But what if circumstances change? And they often do. Can you adapt or is the new situation beyond you. The masters of sailing ships who could win any race were confronted by steam. All their skills and experience were suddenly valueless.

Suddenly you are no longer cock o' the walk but an old has been. A source of amusement to the eager young men with their newfangled machinery. It is a big comedown.

We are being told here not to get too conceited "pride comes before a fall" so make sure your success is firmly based and take nothing for granted.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Every hill has its valley

It is hardly news that ups tend to be followed by downs but perhaps it is wise to pause and think about it occasionally.

When everything in your life goes smoothly does that mean you are heading for a fall? Not necessarily but a sudden rise is likely to have a correction after it and in the long term things tend to revert to the mean.

The path through hilly country is often more enjoyable than that through a plain, so life is more interesting if it doesn't run too smoothly. We often don't understand or appreciate things unless we have experienced the opposite. So bad times are not necessarily all bad.

We enjoy the changing seasons and look forward to the various pains and pleasures they bring. Summer is delightful but an excessively hot day is oppressive. Winter snow can be fun with sleigh rides skiing and snowball fights but cold frozen feet and hands have us longing for spring.

Variety is the spice of life so take it as it comes and enjoy the ride.

Sunday, August 08, 2010

Every inch of joy has an ell of annoy

No, this is not a misprint; an "ell" is a measurement based on the length of a man's arm. An inch was based on the thickness of a thumb.

A lot of life is boring and tedious but it is the moments of joy that reward us and they are usually fleeting. The donkey trots along its stony path with great reluctance but is tempted to continue by the joyful anticipation of the momentary joy of eating a dangling carrot.

We will suffer and sacrifice and put up with all sorts of annoyances for that long dreamed about moment of satisfaction. Anticipation is nine tenths the pleasure.

Monday, August 02, 2010

Desires are nourished by delays

Any beautiful lady knows that arriving a little late for an occasion heightens anticipation. Comic timing depends on a delay to raise expectations before the punch line. There is also a saying: anticipation is nine tenths the pleasure.

When something you expect does not arrive on time it can be annoying but it does give you time to reflect, examine and evaluate the expected. A child not arriving on time can cause anxiety and when they finally do arrive there is great joy in the relief that they are OK.

Delays can annoy and upset people so being punctual is usually a good idea. The more important you are the more likely you will get away with a delay, deliberate or accidental.