John McCullagh March 25, 2012
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Moving slowly over the crest of a gentle hill, man, horse and plough are silhouetted against the evening sky.  They seem like shadowy ghosts from a dim era that have returned as a quiet reminder to a world dominated by and crazed about speed.
We cannot put back the clock: but it does seem wrong now to associate ploughing with the tractor and the petrol engine:  impossible not to feel moved by that scene, with horses straining, their nostrils quivering and blowing out huge trumpets of vapour: to be without the creak of leather harness, straining team and the voice of the ploughman directing the team …  and of the plough itself, as the board scrapes against the rising, turning sod.

Without the plough, Empires would crash and Kings would die:  for the song of the plough is a song of life.  Perhaps that is why poets and artists never tire of depicting plough and ploughman, and the obedient teams.

“Lily? … Hop off, mare! … What are yeh doing, Daisy? … Up on it.  Get outa that, ponies – Ah- h… !  Lily! … Daisy! … Come ‘ere now!  Come ‘ere with yous !”

When one joins a ploughman and takes a ‘scrape’ it is impossible to escape the symbolism which the turning earth stirs in one’s mind.  A rare feeling of the awful importance of the humble task really sings in one’s blood.

The earth is so conservative: and landsmen just as conservative as a result.

… more later …

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