"If providence did beards devise,
To prove the wearers of them wise,
A fulsome goat would then, by nature,
Excel each other human creature." - Thomas D'Urfey

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Half Empty or Half Full?

Is the glass half empty or half full? Now I am quite sure you, too, have considered this question at least once in your life. Hasn't everyone? However, for some, this question enters the surreal and begins to take on a great deal more meaning. Take Nubians as a case in point.

To illustrate my point, consider the incident that occurred in the barn this morning. You see, Saturdays are known, here, as 'worm day' - a fact that takes on considerable significance when one considers that 'worm day' arrives bearing gifts. A gift that would, in fact, be grain. You see, 'worm day' is so called because, on that day, the goatmother gives everyone a dose of herbal wormer. Of course it is probably Ella that has the worms, but that is entirely beside the point. In order to make the wormer more palatable, the goatmother adds it to grain. Grain. Ahhhh.....grain. Second only to Peanuts... sorry ...

Anyway, to get back to my story, this morning it was raining.
Imagine that?
So, because of the rain, Peanut refused to set foot outside the barn in order to get his 'worm day' treat in the accustomed outside pen. Hence, the goatmother was forced to feed the two boys in their half of the barn and dole out meager portions in our half of the barn. As a whole, things went pretty well, unless you count the fact that Ella Un-enchanted ALWAYS has to stick her foot in the bucket of the unfortunate goat next to her, sliding it over so she can consume that one too. At any rate, when everyone was finished, the goatmother reached over and opened the top gate. Momentarily distracted, she did not, however, reach to unlatch the bottom half right away. Now the bottom half of the gate is somewhere in the vicinity of 18 inches high. Not tall really, but possessing superior athletic prowess and little patience, I jumped right over. In hindsight, that was probably a mistake, since the U.S.S. Boo then decided she could pilot her vessel through the channel. The bow rose and came to rest on the other side. The stern, however, remained firmly anchored. Sadly, the vessel had run aground, listing slightly to port, literally divided midship. Try as she might, the goatmother was unable to help.

Finally, the goatmother unlatched the bottom gate and the propellers were able to push the gate far enough forward to free the immobilized scow. And this, my friends, has inspired me to ponder the question above. Was our side of the barn half empty or was it half full? Since the greater bulk was mired on our side, one might surmise that this side was, indeed, half full. And, one might view the other side as being half empty, since it was that side which contained what passes, in Boo, as the 'thinking' end. Now generally speaking, 'half full' is thought to impart the idea of optimism. However, in this instance, since our side contained what could be referred to as the 'business' end, 'half full' could be construed to take on a whole new meaning - one not particularly optimistic in nature. It would follow, then, that the side containing the head would then be thought of in an optimistic way eventhough 'half empty' normally requires the opposite point of view. Optimism, however, would definitely not be a reasonable assumption if one were to consider that this is the end that might consume any available Peanuts - particularly if one's point of view was stuck behind the behind, as it were.

So, you see the question is just not as simple as it might initially appear. It is, in fact, quite a conundrum and deserving of much time atop the stump. As for now, I can only surmise that the real key ultimately lies with the side from which one views the problem. Location is everything. And so it is with life. If we can view things in an advantageous manner, we will naturally see things as 'half full'. If we, however, give in to viewing situations as going 'against' us, naturally we will see the situation as 'half empty'. There is a quotation accredited to Marcel Proust that says, 'The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.' So it is in the case of 'half empty or half full'. Either that or don't get stuck on the gate in the first place.

As an aside, the goatmother removed yet another dead ornithological specimen from the all-to-eager mouth of the indomitable Cabra this morning. Most definitely the mouth was 'half full'. As a matter of fact, the goatmother has begun to paint little bird-like symbols bearing a diagonal line through them on the side of Cabra's crate, and taken to calling her the B-17 Cabrarator.


goatfarmer said...

Location IS everything, Marigold, as you point out. In fact, I have been able to prove definitively that the grass is NOT always greener on the other side of the fence. Because for one thing, when you get over there, you're not on the other side of the fence any more. Whether or not your glass is half full. Ergo, QED. Also, my compliments to Peanut on his refusal to go out without an umbrella. It is all that stands between us and the sheep.

goatgirl said...

Personally Marigold, I'm a cup half full kind of girl. My goats, on the other hand, see the cup half empty so they better hurry and get their fair share even if it means stepping in someone elses cup and emptying their half in the dirt. I am sure that is what Ella is thinking.
Maybe Boo should wear her calf sling all the time so the goatmother could just hook her up and lift her out of her predicaments. Just a thought.

Kathryn and Ari said...

Ah, Marigold. No one weaves a pithy, provocative narrative like you do: image clusters, suspense, dramatic arc, and zen-like koans for the reader to consider. You are truly a master.

PS- What WILL you do with the budding caninaturalist? Doesn't he understand that killing for ornithological research went out of fashion with John James Audubon and ladies' hats?

Marigold said...

Dear Kathryn and Ari,
Fear not. The Cabrarator does not kill the ornithological specimens herself. She prefers the pre-deceased variety.