The solar term of yu shui began on February 18th. While here we did not get any rain until today, it was another story in the western United States. In China rains begin. The really heavy rains come with the summer monsoon in south China; in this case it is spring rain more like what we experience in the United States or Europe. California is getting rain like the monsoon season right now. Whether it will end the five year drought is yet to be seen.
Waves of cool and dry alternate with warm and wet. The changes are marked by windy days. Last week particularly windy weather triggered all my health issues. At the one and only good coffee shop the barista commented it had made him feel bad as well. In Chinese traditional medicine, this period of rains is considered to affect the spleen and stomach. It is important now to ensure the harmony of spleen and stomach with the proper diet. This improves health by regulating the physical metabolism. In Chinese traditional medicine, the basis of human health is Yuan Qi 元气, or original qi, and the root of Yuan Qi in the body is in the spleen and stomach. Oily and fatty foods are not good in this period. When you think about it, it is very sensible. As the temperature warms you don’t need so many calories and you should move to lighter foods.
Each of the solar terms can be divided into 3 pentads (候). In the spring showers or rain water period way the first pentad is 獺祭魚, ‘Otters make offerings of fish’. As the fish begin their swim upstream to spawn, they are hunted by otters. The otters were believed to offer the fish to heaven. The second pentad is 鴻雁來, ‘The wild geese arrive’. In China wild geese begin to make their northward migration, following the onset of spring. Geese here will soon also head north to their breeding grounds. The final pentad is 草木萌動, ‘Trees and grass put forth shoots’. The unusually warm weather here has made this happen early. I am seeing shoots up from spring flowers like tulips and some shrubs are putting out new leaves.
Daylight savings time is a modern innovation. I have trained myself not to need an alarm clock. I always wake up well before sunrise. These days I am thankful that the period of darkness after I wake up is getting shorter. Like the plants and animals I can feel qi rising. The clocks will not spring ahead until March 12th. I am in line with the weather and the sun, not an artificial construct. I am making my own adjustment well in advance of convention. This is good because I have a lot to accomplish and longer, brighter days will help.