A proverb is usually a truth whose opposite is also true.

Forewarned is forearmed. We’ll cross that bridge when we come to it. Too many cooks spoil the broth. Many hands make light work.

I had a proverb experience the other day. One truth was in a dream, the other was in a reverie.

1. A horse lived in a meadow. The king of bees made him a silly promise (in my dream, the bees had a king). The horse was not very bright. But even he would be smart enough to see how to invoke the promise if he had any time to think about it.
Another beast asked what promise the horse had been made by the bees. The horse was beginning to talk it through and would have realized the full meaning of the promise, but that the king of bees came buzzing in his ear and distracted him.

2. Where I live are flat and sunbaked lands with scattered clumps of gramma grass and sagebrush. It is bleak and austere. In that landscape are enormous pecan orchards. The deep canopies overhead shut out most of the light. They are cool and dim. Leaves rustle. It is like being in another world. You can stand on the outside and look down the rows vanishing into the distance and see a little gleam far off. It is probably just the other side of the orchard. But it looks like a pool or a lake.
Imagine a group of young men from a desert town standing on the edge of a wood. They can sometimes at the edge of their vision see a little gleam. It is the fountain of youth. It gives health and vitality and prosperity. They want it.
But the woods are said to be haunted. No one who has ever gone into the woods has come back out. It has been ages since anyone has tried. Something unseen, some lurking power, stalks these twilight corridors.
“I will sprint,” one youth says. “Once I drink, I will be invulnerable to the thing in the wood.” In the heat and glare of their existence, it seems rational to do.
He kneels in a sprinter’s crouch and explodes into the woods. After 50 yards or so he slows down. Eventually he stops. He turns and waves to his friends, who are pressed up as close to the trees as they dare. He then turns and wanders off, looking for a pleasant glade.

The thing that haunts the woods is perspective. Sanity is the malign influence that gathers in the gloom. All that he lost was his fevered desire.


Some interruptions are interruptions of purpose. But in a life overwhelmed by distraction, where means have become ends, some interruptions are a chance to return to purpose.

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