Qui fugit molam, fugit farinam.

The one who flees from the grindstone also flees the flour.

(pron = kwee FOO-git MOH-lahm FOO-git fah-REE-nam)

Comment: The flour in our bread, pancakes, cakes and pies, takes work. And the
grindstone is just the last point of work before flour appears. There is
plowing, planting, cultivating, and harvesting all before the grindstone.

This proverb, or those like it, are often applied to simplistic economics. If
you don’t get a job and work, you don’t eat. No one will argue with the
sequence of those events, but it is like saying that if you want flour you must
show up at the grindstone and do the work. It fails to take into consideration
the plowing, planting, cultivating and harvesting that produce the grains that
must be ground at the grindstone.

Work and productivity are the grindstones in our lives, but there is so much
that goes into the life of a person who shows up to work, and to do particular

Cultural critics often point fingers at the poor and at welfare recipients and
say “get a job”. They rarely are willing to look at what went wrong in the
cultivation of life for so many poor that make getting a life-sustaining job so

Today as I write this, our nation mourns the death of Rosa Parks. Here is a
life where cultivation, deep cultivation along the way of a woman’s life,
brought her to the moment when she was prepared to do the difficult work at the
grindstone. She made some damn good flour, and our nation has feasted at the
wonderful loaf ever since. I doubt we appreciate much at all the plowing,
planting, cultivating and harvesting that went into the life of Rosa Parks.
Rosa Parks did not just show up one day on a bus and decide on a whim to
challenge an entire culture. Somewhere, someone (or several someones, I
presume) cultivated a life. My deepest gratitude for her life, today. One way
or another, one direction or another, we are cultivating life. For what?
Toward what?

Bob Patrick
(Used with permission)
Latin Proverb of the Day is now available on the web.