Instead of heavy snows, yesterday we got a day of heavy, soaking rain. It rained so hard it was pouring down the chinmney and soaked everything in the fireplace. Today, after a morning of fog and heavy mist, we have sun and a fairly warnm day for December. This is a substantial divergence from the conditions described for the traditional solar term which begins today, December 7th ends on the 21st.
The pentads for this solar term, apply more to China and a China which no longer exists in many areas. The first pentad 鶡旦不鳴, “The jie-bird ceases to crow” refers to a bird much like a pheasant which is obviously a creature of the countryside. not the highrise environment of Shanghai or Hong Kong. It had a reputation as agressive, much the way Canada geese can be. The pentad implies that even this energetic bird entrs a period of quietude in the increasing dark, cold and deep snow cover. In the second pentad, 虎始交, “Tigers begin to mate” and free roaming tigers, too, are a thing of the past in China. Tigers normally mate in the cooler months from November to April, so this pentad descibes the phenomenon accurately. The last pentad or ten day period of the term is labeled 荔挺生 . The first character means lychee, a tropical fruit from Guangdong and Fujian provinces. They are delicious and a favorite of ancient emperors as well as myself but they have no special properties. The second character can be stand upright, eract, straighten or rigid and the last life, living, lifetime or sometimes birth. So I see why no translation was provided. I suspect there was an archaic meaning to the first charcter which has been lost. I like codes and puzzles so I may research this some more but for now I’ll just wonder what it meant and not even try to make sense of it.
I am perfectly happy to not have heavy snow. I wnd up getting trapped by every snowstorm because the city hires temporary contractors to plow the street. They do a poor and sloppy job. Also, unlike nearby towns, when a storm is immanent they do not institute alternate side parking. Instead they plow the snow down the streets in such a way as to block in everyone’s vehicle and so I have to go out and spend hours shoveling compacted, icy piles of snow.
The sunny, warmer day today was very much appreciated since I had an appointment for Dolly at the veterinary opthamologist this morning, the main reason I’m posting later in the day. I don’t like to take my indoor only cats out in very cold weather and it does take a few minutes for the heater to warm up the truck. Dolly was quiet on the drive which was good, since it was a much longer trip than the usual vet visit. Happily, her eye has remained stable and not deteriorated and the specialist was pleased. We don’t have to go back for a year now, which she will be happy about. She was easier tha usual to catch this morning but she was not very cooperative coming out of the carrier for the vet. She is sleeping beside me now so I guess she has forgiven me ad I am happy. Her positive prognosis will be one of the best Christmas presents I will get. And if there is no heavy snow this year, for whatever the reason, I’ll take that as a present, too.