Urgency in Village Eldest’s voice. I turn round to see her crouched down next to a dried cow pat. “Trae! Give me the bucket!” she orders. For a few seconds I think she has gone round the bend. She’s scooping up the mess with her bare hands. I want to ask her what on earth she is doing.
“You wouldn’t understand, ” she says, guessing my thoughts. “You wouldn’t understand the importance of cow poo. I need it for the veggieplot.”
An amusing snippet of village life: the importance of cow poo. I pondered about it later that day. What one person considered negative, something best avoided stepping into, the other person found worth cherishing and picking up. For the Village Eldest, cow poo was a necessity, essential for her to grow her crops.
From an artistic point of view this made sense. Some of the most stunning art works have negativity at their core. It is the artist’s role to compost it in the right way and use it to create something else.
I came to the conclusion yet again, through the cow poo incident, that it was all about perspective. It isn’t important how things are. It is important from which angle you look at things.
Easier said than done. I hear you. But look at the word procrastinating. Horrible word. Just pronouncing it draws the mouth into a scowl. It sounds crass. To say you’re procrastinating makes you point the finger at yourself, with added dread, because you realise you ought be doing something else. Procrastinating is negative. You have more pressing things to do.
I assume you’re procrastinating right now. That idea you’ve had for weeks going round in your head — you still haven’t written it down, have you? But there is hope. We can do away with procrastinating by bringing back the verb prospire.
It is possible you’ve never heard of prospiring because it is an old word. For some reason it has gone out of fashion, which is a shame because it is quite a nice and useful verb. It hasn’t got the gnawing-on-your-conscience effect which procrastinate tends to have.
The origins of prospire aren’t entirely clear. Some online sources claim it is based in Latin, a variation of inspire, inspirare, to breath in. But while inspire is something which happens to you, prospire is actively facilitating the process, resting the mind to allow for inspiration. Another source claims it is based in Greek, from spirea, spiral, as in the unfolding of a spiral, the uncoiling.
The question isn’t important as to why prospire went out of fashion. The question is why we can’t bring it back into use. Imagine a world where we’d go on Twitter and we say to each other “Hi, I’m prospiring today.” Someone else would reply with “Brilliant!” Have you looked at this article? Excellent read while you are prospiring.” There are no guilty feelings but more a mutual appreciation for the fact you are both prospiring.
Along with the decline of prospire came the word boring. Boring is everywhere these days. I’d go so far saying there is a boring epidemic.
To me, boring is a bit like a cow pat. What for the one needs to be avoided like the plague, to the other is useful.
My life here in this village at times is excruciatingly boring. Want-to-tear-my-hair-out boring. But if it wasn’t so boring I’d not have gone for long walks and discovered petroglyphs. I’d never have learnt to play Oasis’ “Wonderwall” on the guitar (whether it is good isn’t relevant). I’d never have discovered how beautiful raindrops on cabbage leaves were, because I’d have missed it in my non-bored, excited state.
I’d never have learnt how to paint. And I would never have dared to dream about writing.
Here’s to boring. To cow pats. To prospiring.
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