On November 22nd we passed into the perioud of Minor Snow (xiǎo xuě 小雪). I do not know if we will get even minor snow this year. Just a couple of weeks ago when I drove out to the farm for my order I felt the sun burning my arm as I drove. I was getting that one-armed “trucker’s tan” in mid November! The temperatures continued warmer for a while into this month, which is a good thing for my budget sice the heating bill is lower, but I am one of those people who believes global warming is real and a problem, so I am also concerned.
This week however, we got our cold but not even light snow. Instead, we got really penetrating wind. I am feeding both pet cats of someone I know and the “neighborhood” cats he is helping and I had to surround the food dish with rocks to keep it from blowing away. The next trip I brought a heavy ceramic dog dish I had to use instead. It will not blow away or crack from the cold the way plastic will. There is so little moisture in the air and so much wind fire alerts were issued in spite of the cold. When Mi Sun work me up Monday morning, as I rolled to turn on the light a stream of static sparks lit up across the surface of my blankets. It is so cold at night I switched the food I leave for he outdoor cats to only dry. Wet food will freeze solid and they will not be able to eat it. If they are there I feed them wet food but there is one very frightened feral boy I don’t want to go hungry and he will not approach to eat if I am there.
The pentads for this solar term, which ends December 7th, are actually describing what is happening, which is not always the case. Sometimes they don’t even seem to make sense. The first pentad is “‘Rainbows are concealed from view 虹藏不見”. Rainbows were considered to be the result of mixing yin and yang energy. Winter is heavily yin, there is no mixing and no one sees rainbows. In the second pentad, “The qi of the sky ascends, the qi of the earth descends.” 天氣上騰地氣下降. The qi (chi) is retreating into it’s place of origin and activity in the natural world is diminishing. The last pentad or ten day period of the term is called “‘Closure and stasis create winter 閉塞而成冬”. As mixing ends cmpletely and the qi retreats into the earth and sky, the natural world enters a state of dormancy, exemplified by animals going into hibernation.
The cats are spending more time cuddling and wanting the samefrom me. The only problem is that Cloud meows loudly for me to open the kitchen windpw so he can sit onthe sill. Even though I moved a shelf there for him to sit on, I think he is frustrated because he can’t smell anything. Also, his little bird friends are staying tucked up in the bushes when it is very cold and windy. Their day is starting later, during his morning snooze. He misses them, each morning trying to look out into the dark and see them. I am going to brave Black Friday to get a deal o bird seed and fill the feeders soon so it will bring them in front of the living room windows and he can watch them from there. I am looking forward to making a nice Thanksgiving dinner. All that cooking will help to warm the house and fill it with good smells. Winter squash, sweet potatoes, creamed onions, stuffed pork chops, oyster dressing, hot cider and pumpkin cheesecake are all on the menu. The cats will get treats and catnip and lots of attention. There are many people in the world who have more but far vaster bumbers who have far less. I am thankful for how much I have in comparison and especially for my wonderful feline companions to share the day. This will also celebrate the start of our winter retreat into a time of writing, reading, planning and contemplation. Whether the snow is light or heavy or fails to appear at all, we are ready for our winter.