A Spoonful Of Water

drop-192788_640Laurens Van Der Post, one of my favourite people, describes a scene in his book, “The Voice of the Thunder” of a young Bushman woman crying:

“…there was a young woman in tears kneeling in the background. She was crying, soundless, with grief, feeling her honour impeached because, in pouring out some of their precious water from an ostrich eggshell container, she had spilt a spoonful.”

As I read this, my immediate response was one of absurdity, but then in realizing her context, the Kalahari Desert, I understood only too well.

I couldn’t help but wonder what this little scene has to say to those of us who live in a context of plenty and so much waste.

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About Don

I love life. Sometimes it makes sense, other times not. Discerning its underlying patterns and beauty always provides great reward and meaning and is a passion I ineptly follow. I feel deeply attached to nature and love the sea with its distinct moods and colour and find walking along its beaches wonderfully inspiring. Writing, sketching and photography is a sheer joy for me and the blog is one of the places I am able to express these pursuits.
This entry was posted in consumerist living, Contemplation, inspiration, Life, Nature, wisdom and insight and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

20 Responses to A Spoonful Of Water

  1. Yes, we waste much because we have much. We should have to live like that Bushman woman for a while to see the real value of things.

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    • Don says:

      I often wonder about that Linda. I suppose there’s no better way of becoming conscious to something than by being put in to an actual context. The power to teach lies in the essence of the context itself.

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  2. I have never heard of this author but I deeply trust your recommendation, Don.

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    • Don says:

      Thank you Monika. An amazing man. Was born and grew up in South Africa, but became a universal figure living in England. He became an absolute authority on Bushman myth and did extensive work among them in the Kalahari Desert. In fact his nurse maid was an old Bushman woman by the name of Klara. So much more to say about him. Both him and his wife who became a Jungian analyst, were good friends of Jung. Among many other books, he wrote a beautiful one about Jung called, “Jung and the Story of our Time.” Fascinating and contentious personality.

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      • Thank you, Don! He does sound like a fascinating personality.
        On the topic of waste, one thing I noticed about my adopted country (Switzerland) is that somehow resources are not squandered. My theory is that they have such strong Virgo energy here that it just comes easy. It is a privilege to live here.

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      • Don says:

        You’re so lucky to live in a context like that Monika. Must be such a gift. Could you expand a little on Virgo energy.

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  3. nrhatch says:

    Instead of bemoaning the lack of twin sinks in the master bath, househunters would be ecstatic ~> Indoor Plumbing!

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  4. ladyfi says:

    We live in an age of waste – well, those of us who have too much do…

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  5. Hudson Howl says:

    I doubt there is no going back, that said, if you put aside the material world which all agree is over the top, we all have the power to scale back internally, the question is do have the will?

    Strange last week, will doing some research, I stumbled on to pdf snippets from a diary dating in the 1800’s that went into the bushman way of life in great detail -I think it was the kungs and the sans if memory serves. Thought I saved the link, though now I cannot find it.

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    • Don says:

      You’re right Hudson, there’s no going back, but as you say we have to start scaling back. I think our very existence depends on that.

      Interesting about your research. There are some profound values in their worldview.

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  6. Water may become the new oil for us, Don, but as yet it isn’t as endangered as it was for the young woman.
    But we cherish–and lose or waste–other things: trust, hope, love. As spoonful of any of these, when lost, is a horrible loss.

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  7. We take, we take, and then we take even more. Our mindset of abundance and infinite resources will one day find us wondering, how did this happen? How could we possibly be out of _____? And the pace at which our world is using (and abusing) clean water, may be the first void to rudely awaken us. I can so see and appreciate her tears.

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  8. Having grown up on a farm in SA, I can appreciate this so much! Looking at the skies, hoping that there will be some rain! And waiting days, weeks, months and sometimes a year…

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  9. Anonymous says:

    Remember our Grannie,s generation saying “waste not want not”. There is not too much I class as “sinful” ( a word I do not like)!”these days but
    waste of anything, especially food and water I find offensive and
    yes -sinful. Once again It might be a generation thing – I certainly don,t remember my parents wasting anything, even little pieces of soap were re-cycled. string was kept, wrapping paper re-used.Even tea bags were saved for the compost heap.

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    • Don says:

      I warm to all you say Katy. I don’t believe it’s a generation thing. It’s a value that all generations should nurture. I’m not sure where we’ll all be if we don’t nurture it. Yes, wasting food and water are particularly offensive to me as well. But I suppose it goes well beyond that, hey?

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