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Friday 21 December 2012

No news is good news

The title of this post – that, ‘no news is good news’ is usually taken to mean that if you do not hear about someone or something, that all is assumed to be well.

In 2012, many in business could be forgiven for believing that the words have a rather different meaning: that there just is no good news. Press stories have abounded this year about how small businesses have struggled in vain to raise finance, how the banks have lurched from one crisis to the next and how retailers (those that have survived) have experienced some of the toughest trading conditions on record. And that’s without even mentioning the travails of Europe and the Euro; austerity has greeted us at every turn.

At this time of year of course there is often simply no news. Newspapers thin as the news cycle slows and activity drops as many of us retreat from the coalface to rest and recharge. Who knows what 2013 will bring. But as the Mayan prophecy that the world would end today seems to have been wrong, let us be optimistic for the future and look to better days next year.

Let me leave you with the great American poet, Robert Frost to wish you a very happy Christmas:

The city had withdrawn into itself
And left at last the country to the country;
When between whirls of snow not come to lie
And whirls of foliage not yet laid, there drove
A stranger to our yard, who looked the city,
Yet did in country fashion in that there
He sat and waited till he drew us out
A-buttoning coats to ask him who he was.
He proved to be the city come again
To look for something it had left behind And could not do without and keep its Christmas.
He asked if I would sell my Christmas trees;
My woods—the young fir balsams like a place
Where houses all are churches and have spires.
I hadn’t thought of them as Christmas Trees.
I doubt if I was tempted for a moment
To sell them off their feet to go in cars
And leave the slope behind the house all bare, Where the sun shines now no warmer than the moon.
I’d hate to have them know it if I was.
Yet more I’d hate to hold my trees except
As others hold theirs or refuse for them,
Beyond the time of profitable growth,
The trial by market everything must come to.
I dallied so much with the thought of selling.
Then whether from mistaken courtesy
And fear of seeming short of speech, or whether
From hope of hearing good of what was mine, I said,
“There aren’t enough to be worth while.”
“I could soon tell how many they would cut,
You let me look them over.”

“You could look.
But don’t expect I’m going to let you have them.”
Pasture they spring in, some in clumps too close
That lop each other of boughs, but not a few
Quite solitary and having equal boughs
All round and round. The latter he nodded “Yes” to,
Or paused to say beneath some lovelier one,
With a buyer’s moderation, “That would do.”
I thought so too, but wasn’t there to say so.
We climbed the pasture on the south, crossed over,
And came down on the north. He said, “A thousand.”

“A thousand Christmas trees!—at what apiece?”

He felt some need of softening that to me:
“A thousand trees would come to thirty dollars.”

Then I was certain I had never meant
To let him have them. Never show surprise!
But thirty dollars seemed so small beside
The extent of pasture I should strip, three cents
(For that was all they figured out apiece),
Three cents so small beside the dollar friends
I should be writing to within the hour
Would pay in cities for good trees like those,
Regular vestry-trees whole Sunday Schools
Could hang enough on to pick off enough.
A thousand Christmas trees I didn’t know I had!
Worth three cents more to give away than sell,
As may be shown by a simple calculation.
Too bad I couldn’t lay one in a letter.
I can’t help wishing I could send you one,
In wishing you herewith a Merry Christmas.

(Christmas Trees – A Christmas Circular Letter by Robert Frost)

Bruce Jones

MH Corporate

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