April 23, 2009

madam tortoise

once upon a time madam tortoise took a walk with monsieur hare. afterwards it was hard to tell whether the tortoise had lagged or the hare rushed. who had more haste who had more speed? who was the wise man and who the fool?

their walk, the step by step process of getting closer relied on equal strides forward; a matching pace, constantly adjusted. yes, it was difficult to know how exactly monsieur managed to get so far ahead.

the world goes round and we make our interpretations. our perceptions are so biased and subjective, guesses and assumptions, flawed analysis. a friend switches her phone off, does it mean she doesn’t want to talk to you, or that her battery’s run out? inaccurate interpretations result in inappropriate emotions, which in turn motivate actions.

madam tortoise kept her head half in her shell, half-concealing academic eyes. her cold-blooded reptile heart felt very suitable emotions, as she took self-controlled steps. moving so slowly, safely and carefully, thus far she had managed to avoid the risk of surprises.

monseiur hare carried high hopes, they were heavy, they made it hard for him to think about anything except the end of the walk, anticipating the relief. he stuck his neck out and took big steps, bigger, bounding strides.

I forgot to mention that the bounding hare loved the steady tortoise, and so it wasn’t too long before his hurried emotions started to feel inappropriate, uncomfortable, inconsistent. he pulled up short, something was wrong….

shock, horror, alarm bells, madam tortoise was no longer beside him!! this new perspective, this more accurate way of interpreting events, brought her back into focus, far behind and looking a little forlorn.

pause. here we join monsieur hare looking back down the path, with hands full of spare attachment, and a surplus of expectations.

what happens next? should he…

1. rush the tortoise to catch up, quick come! He could email her a good argument for all the things they have in common, life being too short, the dishonesty of unexpressed feelings. ‘hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life’.

2. admit defeat in this three-legged race, after all its such a long way back, plenty more tortoises in the sea. (turtles?!)

3. drop his hopes like they’re hot and make his sheepish way back. a retreat of sorts, emotional withdrawal back to madam’s established boundaries. wise men say only fools rush in. ‘Whoever has no rule over his own spirit is like a city broken down, without walls.’

I don’t know what should happen or what will happen, but I do know the finish line wouldn’t be any fun without you.


  1. Someone once said to the tortoise, 'the journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step'. I look forward to running on that race of a thousand miles with you and getting to the finish line, wherever it is. In this race,mind is everything: muscle, pieces of rubber. All that we are, we are because of our minds. I Look forward to our journey of minds

  2. So we hurry go faster and faster to find that we've ran our whole lives - la la la la la la (song- Promise)

    reminiscent of 'i don't want to be alone... but I fear, my dear, that i will be' (paidagogos)

    your best piece by far (so far)... xx

  3. Still rumbling, I see. interesting read.

    My cheap advice, tell the guy/girl how you feel and see what happens. Embarrassments are always in your head anyway. Truth be told, everything is in the head (something this piece of writing is alluding to).

    Come to think of it, you thinking the hare will actually pause, miss you, and look back could all be in your head. Apparently, egos don't really take rejection quite well. You ego could subterraneanly (meaning subconsciously - massacring the language of the people who sang "God save the Queen, etc, etc, is always so much fun) trying to please itself. Your mind, unfortunately, is caught up in the middle of that.

    Could it be you overestimate your worth? One gets that feeling in the article. Like I said before, it's an ego thing.

    6 billion of us we are actually think we matter that much. One of these days we'll annihilate ourselves and guess what will happen next?

    The sun will rise again the next day....

    I agree with Yiwonda above. We run and run until the end. It's only when we are at our deathbed that we realise that it was all an illusion. I hate to this but we are a pathetic lot. All this running..

  4. Micheal i think you have to accept that you are 'ego' - we are what we think we are- for it not- what are we? your comment appears to assume you are aware of something the rest of us are not; '6 billion of us we actually think we matter that much' - what matters?; the universe? what matters?; the animals? why are you not important? why do ... Read moreyou see yourself as an insignificant speck? do you think by using this perspective you gain a better understanding of the world? what do you want to understand? can you ever understand it? ('so we hurry go faster and and faster to find that we've ran our lives')

  5. I took this as a general commentary. while the vessel will imprint some of its character sometimes like an oak barrel leaving a woody flavour in wine/whisky, a lot of times the contained will retain its integrity regardless of who carried it.

  6. I hope he'd go back and meet madam halfway... going towards her, not rushing her to catch up to him, and not sitting still asking her to do all the 'work' that he has undone by speeding ahead.

    "I don’t know what should happen or what will happen, but I do know the finish line wouldn’t be any fun without you"

    THAT is sooooooo quoteable... and what a great, great finish to a lovely peice of writing, fully charged with emotion.

  7. JK

    The issue lends itself very well to the necessity of timely deployment of virtuos patience upon detecting cognitive dissonance. Ways to manage the risk of finding oneself far ahead of the race:

    - Awareness of where the 2 of you are in the race and excersing patience enough to synchronise wavelengths even if it means regressing.

    - Avoiding being out of phase and realising that nobody's making a mountain out of a molehill.

    - Separating infatuation from reality... after all, reality is a bitch and I'm told she BITES.

    - Never bring a gocart to a bike race if the intention is to cross the finishing line hand in hand.

    - Realizing that appearing too keen in itself is a turn off. Defeats the whole purpose...after all if you've found a 'keeper', s/he's worth waiting for...afteral you'll only have THE REST OF YOUR LIFE with her when the time's rght.

    - In the words of an artist who's responsible for the unplanned births of most of us belonging to Generation X and Y "...You cant hurry love, you just have to wait, you got to trust, give it time no matter how long it takes.. love dont come easy"

  8. Random Encyclopedia (Section:New Reference Books)24 April, 2009 08:25

    Whether the walk is about love or its about friendship, "can two walk together unless they be agreed?"

    The agreement can be explicit or implicit, sometimes its even on a "subterranean" level, unknown to the conscious as to why there is a connection, oblivious as to why or how you just "get" each other's thoughts.

    So indeed coz its worth it, adjustments are made. Someone hurries along, another slows down, a hand is stretched, hands entwine then the walk resumes at a synchronized pace.

  9. Yiwonda, there's no way I can equal myself to the ego. I'm the awareness that is aware that there's the ego in me. In the beginning was the awareness. Ego is man made, a societal product perhaps.

    I'm acutely aware of my insignificantness because, regardless of what man's feeble mind (and it is feeble indeed, always quick to put labels on things it... Read more can't undesratsnd) says, I'm aware that there are things/forces I just can't comprehend.

    I'm not trying to get a better understanding of the world. That's way bigger than me. If there's anythng I understand (perhaps more than most people) is that I'll never know about the world. Who knows? Maybe in my former life I took a trip to the moon, sat down, and saw the earth surrounded by this nothingness called space.

    The truth is there's just so much more that our minds don't comprehend. We are busy trying to romanticize our, dare I say it, insginificant problems.

    If it was up to me, I'd rather Jessica (assuming that she's the persona) just tell the Hare how she feels (in private) so we can go about the business of comprehending the things that really deserve our intellectual attention. The lake of Malawi, for example.

  10. Ha ha ha can ur insignificant mind comprehend anything about Lake Malawi Sir Michael?

  11. My insignificant mind could comprehend the Lake's incomprehendness. He! He! There will be an awareness that will be aware that I can't comprehend it. I'd just sit there, eyes wide open.

  12. Michael dear; if humility is the shell into which you retreat when 'real' questions are asked of you then so be it ... and if you are willing to spend precious time comprehending incomprehendness then so be that too ...
    each to its own .. lets agree to disagree... xx

  13. Ha! Ha! Humility? Retreating! Shell??? I totally disagree with these nouns and verbs and qualities. I believe I have answered, fair and square.
    But to each his own indeed. Once again, let's agree to disagree!

  14. Jess, what an emotionally moving piece of writing. I love it. Questioning certainly aids growth - in any arena of one's life. Unanswered ones seem to imbibe more curiosity but help us recognize that humans cannot provide them at all times. We are just left wondering..

  15. Is life not like a waltz to a song that you have never heard? He comes to her, bows, asks for a dance. She looks around, thinking he is asking someone else, then realizes that those smiling eyes are gazing at her. She blushes and extends a trembling hand. "My pleasure" and she is up.

    He leads her to the centre of the ballroom. He bows again to her, she curtsies to him and he places one hand into her own and the other circles her waist. Firm yet gentle, leading and yet flexible to follow.

    The music fills the air and their bodies move, carried on a wave of harmony. Their ears focus on the allegro of the violins, expecting every change of mood even as eyes and touching hands sense the tensing and relaxing muscles to respond to the other.

    Maybe once in a while they step on each others' toes. Once in a while one it too fast and the other too slow. Soon enough there is a synchronicity to their movement that shows that now the unity of thought has become almost natural, and she closes her eyes and places her head on his shoulders.

    Till the music stops and they must disengage.....till the next dance, till the next number. It starts again....

    Monsier Hare and Madam Tortoise...

  16. http://qodebreaker.blogspot.com/2009/04/darn-you.html


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