03.19.16 The vernal equinox doesn’t officially happen until 10:30 pm at our house, but we celebrated it a bit early this morning, at 6:55 am, because we knew the International Space Station would fly by at that time. With hats and boots, we walked down the ice-crunchy grass to the end of the dock. We didn’t really need the lantern with so much light in the sky, and Jupiter was still very visible due west, and plenty of little stars were overhead. Right on time, exact in its direction, the Station came up over the western horizon and we had four minutes to watch it make its arc. It was the most pleasant four minutes in which to start a new day, a new season. The waves made gentle lapping sounds, the wind swayed the tops of the ponderosa, and the wind chime was soft and rhythmic. We could hear waterfowl of some sort out in the lake. My favorite moment was when we turned around to watch the Station move over our house into the eastern horizon. The tall chimney and towering pines were crisply silhouetted in the pale morning light, and the house looked so cozy with its soft golden windows. The Christmas tree on the terrace–which we can’t bear to take down–twinkled its fairy lights next to the kitchen windows.
In the Chinese Wu Xing tradition, planets are referred to as a moving star. There are Five Elements which govern our existence, and rituals to acknowledge their power. On the vernal equinox, one should face East on this day, and embrace the color green. I think I did just fine on those two counts, though a green dragon is the preferred symbol, as opposed to a white sheep standing in a pot of clover. Wu Xing dates back to the first or second century BC, and on the equinoxes and solstices, I try to at least google some understanding of the concept. I know people who are under the care of alternative/complementary physicians, and they get ill, and get better, in mysterious ways which link their bodies to cosmic cycles. My grandson, Duncan, once gave me a gift of the Five Elements. He had made pipe cleaner figures, with scraps of fabric and ribbon, named Fire, Air, Water, Ice and Earth. I asked him if he had learned about the ancient Chinese tradition of the Five Elements somewhere, and he said, no, that it was just in his imagination.
I kept his Five Elements by my bedside for a long time. If a child comes into the world with this knowledge, it bears reverence. Wu Xing is essentially an understanding of nature, which never stops moving and changing–birth and death. Within the five phases, there is a generating cycle and a destruction cycle; a grandmother and grandson is identified as the inter-acting relationship within the generating cycle. What’s not to love about this way of living in the world! Now it is Spring–cold and crisp, but it has happened again–a generating cycle is upon us.