A few days ago I enjoyed my morning coffee while listening to a local radio station. People were being interviewed about a – thank heavens – rare occurrence. A farmer drove through their village after spraying his fields with liquid manure and somehow the spreading device on the tractor was activated again. It was a warm day, front doors of houses in the High Street were open, shops displayed their goods on the pavement, people parked alongside were waiting in hot cars, all windows open. I think you’ve got the picture by now? Everything and everyone on the High Street was splattered with the last remains of the liquid manure.

What I thought striking, was that nobody was angry or upset. They all felt for the farmer; people felt sorry for the guy. They knew he did not spray everything he encountered on his way to the local butcher on purpose. In the end, the farmer was alerted, neighbours helped each other clean their houses, cars were washed, people showered and clean clothes were hanging to dry in the sun and a fresh crisp wind played with sleeves and hem lines.

Later that night many deep belly laughs were heard from the two pubs in the village: people telling their story about their liquid manure adventure. By the end of the evening, just before closing time, tonnes and tonnes of manure had been lost and the whole village had been covered in a meters thick layers of the smelly stuff.

This is one scenario. The other is less rosy but as smelly as the other. The inhabitants of the village became incensed. They ran angrily shouting towards the tractor and tried aggressively to make the farmer stop. They pulled him from his seat and demanded a reason why this had happened to them. Why were they suddenly victimized by this man. While he was being shoved from one angry villager to the next they started shouting for money to pay for the car-wash, the launderette, the dry cleaner and for all the water bills at the end of the month. Some men and women took their cars and went to the farmer’s farmhouse and starting throwing in windows with stones. The farmers’ wife and her young children were frightened and fled their house at the back where a car was parked, they drove into the fields to the next village to get to the police station. There she found her husband, beaten and in shock. The following years people were still talking about what had happened. The villagers felt it was their right to claim expenses but it had ruined the farmer, his business and his marriage.

This is not an article in favour of taking out insurances covering all kinds of calamities. Although I think it is smart to cover one’s potential loss of money. (Aka as covering one’s behind, pun intended) but it is an article about taking responsibility for one’s actions, finding humour in outrageous situations and taking care of the people close to you. The tractor-driving, manure-spreading farmer is a true story, the way the villagers responded in the first paragraph is also the truth. The second version is my fantasy – quite morbid at the moment – but maybe the outcome could have been that way. I’m sure that the last version would have been more newsworthy for most radio stations and newspapers.

I applaud the local radio station for spending time to relay the positive story to the listeners and I wish that every unintended calamity on our planet could be dealt with in the grounded way the villagers approached a nasty problem without keelhauling the perpetrator. I would love to hear more positive news – at least one an hour – on radio and television, preferably in mainstream news programs. It lifts the heart and perks up spirit, souls will glow and consciousness grows. Today I’ll be aware of what I am relaying to the outer and the inner world. I know it makes a difference.

– Karin Schluter Lonegren