“Chi K’ang asked Confucius about government, saying, ‘What do you say to killing the unprincipled for the good of the principled?’ Confucius replied, ‘Sir, in carrying on your government, why should you use killing at all? Let your evinced desires be for what is good, and the people will be good. The relation between superiors and inferiors, is like that between the wind and the grass. The grass must bend, when the wind blows across it.’” Analects XII, 19, Kindle Edition, Open Road Integrated Media 2016.
Whether he stands or sits in the men’s toilet is immaterial if he calls himself a man. On the Dasein clock he might be rescuing animals from floods, putting out bushfires or carting hay, but his custom is an instinctively assertive response to community’s self-importance, whether he has time to listen or not. After all, you can’t set up a committee every time you must do something, can you? He can be impatient and harsh, but he has a lot of practical wisdom, perhaps because he has chewed so many grass stalks waiting for it to rain, or to stop raining. One year, it rained and rained, right through Christmas. You cut the hay, then you relax at Christmas, right? Wrong, hay ruined in the field! Talking to one bloke who was adamant that you wouldn’t cut it if it was still growing, you could tell he was in unfamiliar territory two months late in early January, and he had more than one manager sweating on his call. I told him the Moon was full, and he spent the next ten minutes on the phone, because as any peasant will tell you, it never rains at a Full Moon. Of course, in a rare gap in the weather his peasants got the harvest safely into the shed.
My grandfather raised sheep in the West Australian wheatbelt. He used to tell a yarn of the time an itinerant labourer came looking for work. Papa had work for him, so he told him to come back in the morning. Next morning, Papa invited the labourer to have breakfast with him while he described the location of some fencing which needed repair. Papa was only too happy for the man to have a second helping, because the job was too far away to come back for lunch. “Tell you what,” the man said as he finished, “If I have a bit more I can work right through to dark,” “Fair enough,” agreed Papa, and when the labourer had stuffed himself full of food, the two men walked outside. The labourer marched off towards the front gate. “It’s back this way,” called Papa. “Scusa,” the labourer called back. “I never work after my evening meal.”
Even if there was nothing good on the telly, you wouldn’t sit out on the verandah in the twilight like we used to. Mosquitoes big as sheep. So I really couldn’t say what phase the Moon is, and if there might be a climate change. Some big storms, the river silts up at the mouth, and the farm goes underwater. Mosquitoes love it, but I reckon the greenies in the fastness across the creek don’t spend much time on the verandah either. They clamour for nature to be allowed to run its course, and the catchment can be inundated for years. Fortunately there is a popular surf break at the mouth, and when the access road gets too boggy and the Council closes it, a kilometre to carry the board gets too much, and somebody in the dead of night digs a channel. Like I said, peasants have a lot of practical wisdom.
Interesting that the astronomical year starts when it is so dry. Water-carriers and Fishes: something wrong there, you would think. I know Pisces. Uranus was camped there for years. Spoke to a drifter years ago, before the mosquitoes, and she showed me the dim lines of the fish as ridges where Moon and Uranus often sat around a fire and talked of thousands of years ago. All I could see was a jockey standing in the stirrups, but no colours or number to guide me in Cups betting. Pretty useless, I would say, and I told her so.
I ceased a long time ago to be amazed when things get turned upside down. Speaking of the resurgent popularity of socialism among millenials and the recent commemoration of the victory which set in train the Cultural Revolution and Tiananmen Square, I am reminded of the time a steer had a horn growing into his eye, and a couple of friends and I minding the farm while Mum was off somewhere tried to hacksaw it off. We couldn’t bear the bellows of agony, so called a neighbour for advice. He ripped it off with six violent blows with the hacksaw. “Bloody city-slickers,’ he growled.
Come to think of it, in reference to something the Sun said last time we met, let me say that my business is not to unite. It may have a terrestrial function, my motion, and the relativity of perspective may promote inclusivity, but binary concepts are beyond me. I just keep going, whether I orbit the Earth or the Sun, and whether you measure my movement or not. Of course I will suffer and die one day, but the cow’s horn has to come off, and that’s that, whether it be Frisian, Hereford or Angus! Well I hope you have enjoyed this candid shot of the Peasant in Northern Hemisphere Tropical Taurus. I know I have, because you’ve been such respectful listeners, even after such a big breakfast! Scusa!