Thought for the day, Saturday 22nd October

From The Celtic Spirit: Daily Meditations for the Turning Year by Caitlin Matthews,

“Ordinary Things

‘There are three slender things that support the world: the slender stream of cow’s milk into a pail; the slender blade of green corn in the ground; the slender thread running over the hands of a skilled woman.’ Ancient Irish triad

The comfort and nurture we derive from dairy products is the gift of the cow, that supremely important animal in the Celtic world. The cow, unit of wealth, was so highly prized that it is remembered in the heavens among Gaelic speakers who know the Milky Way as “the Way of the White Cow.” The fertility of the fields was always considered a measure of how committed a ruler or chieftain was to his land and people: poor crops were an indication of poor rulership. Along with the milk of the cow, the bannock (loaf) of bread made up the staple diet of most people before the advent of the New World potato, so grain was another measure of prosperity and well-being.

Before the coming of industrial looms, all clothing was made laboriously by hand. The woman of the house (with the help of her daughters) clothed her entire family; she would take the unwashed wool, comb and card it, and then time-consumingly spin it from the distaff until it could be labour-intensively woven on a hand-loom. That wool kept the cold out, but the greatest skill went into weaving fine linen garments for wear next to the skin. It is by the help of the ordinary things that much of own living is supported. In different countries, there are different staple grains and foodstuffs, different materials. From their slender existence our own is sustained.

What three ordinary things are the supporters of your life?”

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