15 July 2006

Omens and Personal Legends

  • A sinister card from the Post Office mid-June
  • Around same time, #1 Daughter asking anxiously if her Father's Day present had arrived.

    You'd think that even my addled brain could put δυα και δυα together but no - I assume the Post Office card is inviting me to collect some official debt-collection summons from messrs Pinkerton to do with my miscreant behaviour back in the USA.

    I assure #1 Gal that the mail is often slow around here but privately assume it has been pilfered from our mail box by a passing tourist.

    Then just the other day I have business in that part of town anyway so I collect the package just for a laff and it turns out to be The Present - an intriguing volume by one Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist, whose jacket cover promises an introduction from the author, plus 'Insights, Interviews, and More'.

    It reads ominously like some improving tome; indeed, I have been hearing of this book since its appearance in English in the early 1990s, albeit from bright-eyed young things bursting with positive thoughts and all at points in their lives where things are clear and possible.

    They talk of goals and following dreams and other exhausting themes. I have made as to note the title in my journal and taken my leave with some unconvincing excuse. Now I shall have  to find out what this fine book is about,

    I have reached page 60, where our bold shepherd boy is about to leave the crystal shop and forge onwards to the Pyramids, there to achieve his 'Personal Legend'.

    Mr Coelho's story places great store on Personal Legends, as it does responding to omens and the 'principle of favorability'.

    I'm reading it with care and slowness, not just to eke out the pleasure but to give its wisdom every chance to settle.

    So far, the only passages that resonate are those that fit my gloom each waking day when contemplating the possibility of yard work:

    "People learn early in their lives, what is their reason for being." said the old man, with a certain bitterness.

    "Maybe that's why they give up on it so early, too. But that's the way it is."

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