Courage & The human spirit

December 14, 2013

When we speak about courage and the indomitable human spirit. We often conjure up images of the rugged individual doing battle with the elements – climbing a mountain, sailing the solo etc etc.

The narrative is never ever about the mundaneness of everydayness…the endless grind…the never ending litany of daily living.

Somewhere in all this heady mix. I can’t help but feel this narrative misleads terribly. As real courage and the repository of the indomitable human spirit has to reside in the litany of everydayness – where we all just live day by day, not really knowing whether our lives would get better or worse. That I believe is where real terror resides – in the seasoned grind of ordinary living that just stretches out like a road with no end…and somewhere in this journey where we may not even have any cause to trust our hopes…. when one is still able to summon hope in the face of hopelessness, courage when we stand before the sum of all of fears and just put on a smile and put our best foot forward to face the world and make the best of what we have….then surely that has to be exceptionally brave.

As sometimes just to wake up, put on your tie and face the world when all of really want to do is an act of exceptional act of courage by itself.

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“Where I turn the wheel of life as a planter. There is a local legend. It is an unassuming story of a simple farmer who once wanted nothing more than to plant row after row of trees.

One day an evil and greedy land owner decided to chase this simple man out of his humble veggie patch. On a full moon, ten gangsters were sent to scare off this one farmer. No one knows the precise details. There is considerable speculation and accounts vary depending on how many tiger beers have been emptied…but all know how it all ends.

The following morning all ten gangsters were found wandering naked covered in blood in a daze muttering the words again and again, “the devil has come to these parts….he lives on that hill with a giant black dog.”

As for the evil landowner, he ceded his lands to this seemingly simple farmer and mysteriously packed up like a travelling circus never to be seen again. His last words,

“Life is short.”

Good it seems has triumphed over evil – end of story.

In the sombre oak paneled smoking room of the Planter’s club. A man in his 40’s dressed in a field bush jacket sits all by himself nursing a thumb of brandy. There is as old Germans would like to say an unmistakeable Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes quality about this mysterious figure who seems content to look on with a lingering sadness at the world….permeated with the spirit of seen that and done it air…or maybe he was just lucky like some have say, he just got spat out on the right side…no one knows for sure.

The sort heroic figure who ladies in wide brimmed hats regularly steal furtive glances at and gossip about. The kind of man that men would find themselves shifting uneasily in their chairs as they struggle to reconcile their limitations with the many rumored exploits of this one man – perhaps it is the deep scar that runs across the right side of this man’s forehead that makes them lower their eyes whenever he speaks in hushed tones. Or maybe it is his habit of cracking self depreciating jokes that they all seem to pretend to laugh at knowing full well, the man is just masking his true nature.

There is much more than meets the eye…the hardened wind swept features that only field life can impart on a man….the slight delay in the man that only comes from experience…all these and much more conjured up images of a strange creature breaking ebony still waters in the pale moonlight.

A strange, mysterious and enigmatic figure….a man who is content to sit for hours on end all my himself as he looks on at the birds like a solitary island in shark infested waters…here but somewhere else…so near yet so very far ….always with a lingering sadness in his eyes.”

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