Thursday, March 10, 2016

Bovine Based Wisdom

There is an ancient Icelandic proverb, the modern English translation of which is: "The cows of Husavik sing, but only after well after dusk."  This, of course, is self-explanatory for those who dwell across the street from the Arctic Circle.

For those who don't catch the laughably evident meaning, it is both a cautionary tale as well as a recognition that we all possess talents that are seldom witnessed.  Regarding the former, it exhorts us to express ourselves before it is too take a stand, while the body and spirit permit, in defense of a cause, a principle, a community.  To the latter point, it encourages us to take not flinch in the face of risk.  It is easily among my favorite old Icelandic proverbs.  Probably Top 15.

Applied to our time and place, it could be read as a call for public service in some form...either by seeking office, or by volunteering, or by applying one's talents in a manner that promotes the common good.  I know many of my readers are already immersed in such activities. That said, there is another circle of folks, who have the time, energy, and temperament to engage in these pursuits, but they haven't reached the tipping point yet.  They stand by the river's edge, canoe at their feet.  Why not offer them an oar?

Which is my way of saying, if you know such people, perhaps it might be a good time to strike up a conversation about the meaning of community, volunteerism, and philanthropy.  Ask questions.  If they had the time to dedicate to a cause, what would they want to do?  When appropriate, offer suggestions.  Perhaps he/she/they simply don't know where to begin their journey.  Be understanding.  Sometimes people need to sit with the "How can I help?" question for a while.  Encourage them, but allow them to work out their own timetable.
They will remember that you helped provide the sheet music.  And when they thank you, remember to respond, "Don't thank me.  Thank the cows of Husavik."  Chuckle knowingly.

Stay tuned, as more will follow.         

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