Tuesday, 31 March 2015

Mortal Coil by Susan L.

  After typing in yesterday about shrugging off this mortal coil, I began thinking about its meaning. I looked it up this morning to find out where it came from. My high school English teacher would be pleased that some remnants of Shakespeare remains in my mind. The phrase is from Hamlet, "Shuffle off this mortal coil." It's in his "to be or not to be" soliloquy.
  The image of a human figure wrapped in barbed wire came to mind to represent the coil of existence. Its sharpened barbs would prick and jab which, for me, represents all the trials in this ole world.
  Barbed wire is nasty stuff to work with. My hands bear a couple of scars from farm fence repairs. It's so nasty that one of the local townships banned the use of it on line fencing; the fences that border roads and neighbour's properties. I believe a landowner got sued by a trespasser who hurt themselves on the barbed wire as they climbed over onto private property. It's a backwards world sometimes.
  It helped keep the cows, goats and horses in their pasture. But guess what? It didn't work for sheep. Their thick fleeces protected them from the thorny barbs. As they passed under or over the barbed wire, their wool would snag on the tines rendering them useless. The wire fence ended up dotted with little balls of fleece.
  The same thing happened with an electric fence. Their thick fleece protected them from the charge running through the wire as they ducked beneath it. The wool would wrap around the wire insulating it for the goats who merrily followed the sheep out of the paddock into the back yard of the house. I gave up trying to keep them in. As long as they weren't on the road, no harm done.
  The swallows and song sparrows liked it. It gave them wonderfully warm nesting material once they'd unwrapped a few strands from the barbs and wire.
  It just goes to show you: a sheep cannot be contained.
  "Do not fear, little flock, for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom. " Lk 12:32

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