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The lessons of the poor farmer’s horse

Perhaps, maybe, quizas, I am back to normal.

After a two-week bout of flu over Christmas, I am feeling great!! My legs are better as I am able, much of the time, to walk up the escalinatas without having to stop to catch my breath or rest my legs. Saying that my brain is better is subject to other appraisals but it has been three weeks since it has gone into its “spacy/fog” mode, which has been a routine problem for the past several months. The recurrent vertigo symptoms have abated. My energy and interest in things has returned and I again am feeling very alive inside.

I’m still waiting for the left eye to clear but the day-to-day issues of dealing with that are not affecting my overall sense of well being. Looking back, these underlying “blahs” have been with me at least since the difficulties with the cataract surgeries in mid-July and probably earlier. No wonder that a feeling of elation pops up from time to time.

Trump. Turbulent times. Some descriptive words that come to mind:  vile, vindictive, vicious, vitriol, degrade, denigrate, demean,  judge, jeer, lie, suspicion, harsh, advice (you should),  admonition, attack, pleasure in  demeaning another, joy in the anguish of another. I don’t believe that Facebook is representative of the American people, but we do see there the extremes of the right and left, and the harshness of much of the rhetoric is discouraging.

So, I try to deal with the reality that is in front of me each day and not spend energy imagining disasters in the future that may or may not happen; try my best to see and deal with people as human beings and not let my ideologies and beliefs characterize them as “other”; do what little I can to influence change towards a more humane world, knowing that the only person I can change is myself.

As a Bernie Sanders liberal, these times offer a wonderful opportunity that we wouldn’t have had with a Hillary victory — to forge some new ways of doing things, deal with the realities instead of slogans and wishful thinking, think through what we believe are some basic goals for a better nation to the north, and welcome new thoughts and ideas because whether acceptable or not, they widen the base of your knowledge.

Lastly, a Chinese story from the Huai Nan Tzu that is in the Stephen Mitchell translation of the Tao te Ching.

A poor farmer’s horse ran off into the country of the barbarians. All his neighbors offered their condolences, but his father said, “How do you know that this isn’t good fortune?” After a few months the horse returned with a barbarian horse of excellent stock. All his neighbors offered their congratulations, but his father said, “How do you know that this isn’t a disaster?” The two horses bred, and the family became rich in fine horses. The farmer’s son spent much of his time riding them but one day he fell off and broke his hip bone. All his neighbors offered the farmer their condolences, but his father said, “How do you know that this isn’t good fortune?” Another year passed, and the barbarians invaded the frontier. All the able-bodied young men were conscripted, and nine-tenths of them died in the war.

Thus good fortune can be disaster and vice versa. Who can tell how events will be transformed?

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About the Author

David Nelson, spent 30 years growing up and getting educated in Oregon before moving to the Oakland, California and the East Bay area, where he practiced worker’s compensation law, representing injured workers, for 40 years. When he retired from his legal practice, he worked another nine years as a part-time gardener before moving to Cuenca.

  • Hansi Stein

    The farmer’s horse tale sounds more like a warning against indiscriminate immigration to any country than a tale of “not knowing” the outcome of some action. As for Trump, maybe history had decided someone has to clear the deck of America’s political establishment, corrupt as it seems to be. Europe will need a purging next.