Monday, September 13, 2010

A cool, cloudy morning here--towels in the washing machine, canner heating on the stove, a blue jay screaming in the apple tree. His voice sounds like a rusty swing chain.

I have much editing to accomplish today. I really need to get this project done because next week I leave for several days at Haystack, where I'm supposed to lead a series of writing workshops for professional craft artists, all of them previous faculty members in Haystack's programs, who have been invited back for a chance to work on their own projects. Along the way, they'll have the option to sit in on a writing class, which I have yet to design. I'm looking forward to designing it, however.

So I'm off to the land of work. Meanwhile, here's a random snippet from The Golden Bough, a reminder that other people have far more irritating job descriptions. (I tell you: The Golden Bough is like the I Ching. Keep a copy handy at all times.)

Among the Todas of Southern India, the holy milkman, who acts as priest of the sacred dairy, is subject to a variety of irksome and burdensome restrictions during the whole time of his incumbency, which may last many years. Thus he must live at the sacred dairy and may never visit his home or any village. He must be celibate; if he is married he must leave his wife. On no account may any ordinary person touch the holy milkman or the holy dairy; such a touch would so defile his holiness that he would forfeit his office. It is only on two days a week, namely Mondays and Thursdays, that a mere layman may even approach the milkman; on other days, if he has any business with him, he must stand at a distance (some say a quarter of a mile) and shout his message across the intervening space. Further, the holy milkman never cuts his hair or pares his nails so long as he holds office; he never crosses a river by a bridge, but wades through a ford and only certain fords.

Oh, the burdens of power.

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