Does no one appreciate quiet any more?
I've been thinking about snowmen lately. (Not something we really get to make in Hawaii.) Quiet, ephemeral creatures, somewhat Taoist..."like ice about to melt" and with stable bottoms. With three dantians, they resemble the neijing tu. I put this little guy on the Christmas tree yesterday, not a moment too soon or too late, along with all the other traditional symbols, whimsical memories, and glittery light-reflecting things, collected over 45 years.
|"And I will call him San Dantian."|
In a Korean drama I am enjoying right now, the beleaguered young king, when he wants to discreetly leave the palace and travel incognito among his people, often summons his ever-present loyal eunuch to make him a snowman by gathering fresh, untouched new fallen snow. He usually has to climb up on the roof to gather it, giving the king time to escape with his ultra-attractive swordsman/bodyguard (with whom the ministers think he may be having an affair because the king won't sleep with the court-selected queen).
|Bodyguard played by Song Jae Rim; |
a swordsman who likes cats.
How like the little snowman we are. Created by unknowable forces for unknowable purposes for a brief moment in time. The worldly intrigues and disasters occur around us. Are we made to melt, to only hope to revert to fresh-fallen pure snow, are we countless unique snowflakes coalescing once again into a pattern, the same always, but never to be repeated precisely?
Those in the past who were good at practicing Tao,
Were subtle, mysterious, dark, penetrating (wei miao yüan t'ung),
Deep and unrecognizable.
Because they were unrecognizable,
I am forced to describe their appearance (yung).
Careful, like crossing a river in winter,
Hesitating, like fearing neighbors on four sides,
Reverent, like being guests,
Dissolving, like ice beginning to melt,
Thick, like uncarved wood,
Open, like a valley,
Chaotic (hun), like murky (cho) water.
What can stop the murkiness?
Quieting (ching) down, gradually it clarifies (ch'ing).
What can keep still for long?
Moving, gradually it stirs into life.
Those who keep this Tao,
Do not want to be filled to the full (ying).
Because they are not full,
They can renew (hsin) themselves before being worn out (pi).
(TTC 15, tr: Ellen Chen)