I just got a book of Zulu proverbs. I have no clue whether anyone actually uses these anymore (I think of how old-fashioned or completely unknown the sayings in an English book of proverbs would be), but I’ll share some nonetheless. So to start:
Kuyoqhuma nhlamvu, ezinye ziyofekela. – Some seeds will grow, some seeds will die.
Right now I’m visting a friend in the Battlefields region of KwaZulu-Natal. The English fought the Zulus here, the Zulus fought the Boers, the Boers fought the English – everyone fought everyone. At one site, the Brits faced one of their worst defeats on African soil to the Zulus. Soon after, 150 British soldiers killed 4000 Zulus.
The area here is beautiful – grasslands with low spreading trees reminiscent of the Lion King, aloe vera plants which make me think of the Jurassic era, purple hills on the horizon, and sun. We went hiking through the bush down to a river, then relaxed on some rocks overlooking the churning water.
I dug a few channels in the sand at the beach. I’ve always liked doing that; when other kids were making sand castles, I would dig tunnels and watch how the water behaved. How would two tunnels interact? What sort of erosion would happen? Could I get the water to flow, to spiral or fill up the different resevoirs?
The fun is that you never quite know what will happen. A slight change can affect the entire structure. Digging a little deeper can cause more water to flow in, eroding the sides and closing off a tunnel, which in turn alters the rest of the flow. The water flowing out creates patterns of its own in the sand independent of my planning.
There are limits in our lives, but there are no limits to knowledge. Using what’s limited to try to catch up with what’s unlimited can only bring trouble. – Zhuangzi
Planning is sometimes overrated (only sometimes, though!). Occasionally one must just see what happens. That’s not to say that things always work out; it’s just that the world is complex and no one can see where change happens or all of its consequences.