Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Ant or Grasshopper?

My son, if thou be surety for thy friend, [if] thou hast stricken thy hand with a stranger, Thou art snared with the words of thy mouth, thou art taken with the words of thy mouth. Do this now, my son, and deliver thyself, when thou art come into the hand of thy friend; go, humble thyself, and make sure thy friend. Give not sleep to thine eyes, nor slumber to thine eyelids. Deliver thyself as a roe from the hand [of the hunter], and as a bird from the hand of the fowler.
Go to the ant, thou sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise: Which having no guide, overseer, or ruler, Provideth her meat in the summer, [and] gathereth her food in the harvest. How long wilt thou sleep, O sluggard? when wilt thou arise out of thy sleep? [Yet] a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep: So shall thy poverty come as one that travelleth, and thy want as an armed man.

        Proverbs 6:1-11, KJV

I read this this morning and it struck me, being July already and winter being ‘just around the corner’ despite the 96+ temps…
Our ancestors worked all summer preparing for winter. Fields were planted, wood was chopped, and food was gathered for the long winter ahead. I think in the present time we live in, we get so out of tune with the seasons.
Surely you know the story/parable of The Ant and the Grasshopper, right? The industrious ants work hard all summer, collecting and gathering, while the grasshopper is more of a situational party-animal, enjoying the company of friends, living off the system around him and not giving a thought to the future coming at him regardless of the carefree days of summer.

Hmm…sounds like alot of folks I know.  We live in a world of grasshoppers these days. Too many grasshoppers.
What happens when ‘summer’ ends and you are finally faced with ‘winter’? Do you realize, too late, that your carefree and party mindset lulled you into death? I wonder…do folks like that, those grasshopper types, ever grow up, ever realize their mistakes? Or do they live their lives waiting on someone else, some government entity, some tax-break, some refund, some 401k or profit-sharing, to keep them fed and clothed, to provide for their future winter season?
Can a grasshopper become an ant? Sure they can. If you look around, that is happening all over.  It’s wrapped up in different covers right now….homesteader, prepper, etc….but it’s still the same age-old telling of the Ant and Grasshopper story.
Our ancestors didn’t know of any other way to live…
Papa said he’s happy we are prepared for winter. The barn is stacked high with hay and our animals have cozy beds. The cellar is full of potatoes, onions, carrots and turnips, salted beef, and barrels of cider. We have enough dried cranberries to sell at market.
-       “ The Winter of Red Snow”

“ Come along, little Half-Pint. We better make hay while the sun shines.”
-       “ The Long Winter”

So savor Summer, enjoy the harvest of Fall, and be prepared for the cozy winter months ahead.
                            – Abby Jo

I suppose you could argue when the grasshopper-change occurred…was it with rationing in the 40’s? Probably not…rationing increased the ‘prepper’ heart of mind, and all those Victory Gardens popped up as mainstream plans.  What about the 50’s? Parents were still mostly of an ‘Ant’ mindset, but what about the youth…rock-a-billy did a number on youth back then, or so they say. How about the 60’s or 70’s? Well, it certainly could have gotten a toe-hold then, there was still alot of ‘growing’ going on, albeit not so much in traditional edibles…we’ll just leave it at that, LOL.
It could have been the 80’s…most were relishing the land of plenty mindset back then, definitely a grasshopper stereotype, and stocking-up or putting by were not so much a part of the American vocabulary.
Either way, today, economically collapsed as we are, the grasshoppers still far out-number the ants, and I find that interesting. You would think some level of common sense would prevail and the ants would take over, but not so. I still know more grasshoppers than ants, and they are just like the one in the story…laughing and making fun of my efforts toward a future that even the blind can see coming. 
Efforts like simplifying at home, cutting away all the corners until there are only deeply rounded edges remaining. We are trying solar lighting, turning off more than we turn on, etc. 
Efforts like gardening, regardless of the daunting task of changing clay into black gold out here.  I have access to some great local farm markets, so my own or otherwise, the canning and dehydrator will be put to good use, as will the herbal knowledge and medicinals.
Efforts like learning ‘new’ old fashioned skills to sustain a family into the future. Projects like cheese-making, crocheting and knitting, quilting, wild-crafting, etc.
Efforts like homeschooling…that is certainly an Ant kind of undertaking these days…retraining the grasshopper-taught minds of the masses.
Maybe my ‘Ant’ mentality is amusing to those with the ‘Grasshopper’ sense…

it’s hard-work, constant-work, and it takes heart and inspiration. There. is work from sun up to sun down and then some. It is a ‘free time’ filled not with party skills, but practical skills, like mending and sewing.  Partying takes nothing, not even the smallest of efforts, let alone heart.

So,  where do you see yourself today? In 5 years? Where will you be when “winter” comes knocking at your door?


Greg and Donna said...

A polite rant ~ but so very true my Ant friend~ Lots for people to think about!

Yart said...

I have been of the ant mindset for a couple years now... It has been hard work but the larder is coming together nicely... I just wish sometimes that the skills I am trying to learn would come just a bit easier. I pray for the grasshoppers, that they find their way before its to late.


Jeremiah 6:16
Thus saith the LORD, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls.

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