Greater Egret

Thursday, December 29, 2011


The juvenile red tail male hawk is back in the valley this week, hanging around his old nest and hiding in this picture like a refugee from a Bev Doolittle painting. I snapped this shot early yesterday morning on the way to work. This morning he was sitting on top of an old telephone pole.

The sycamores in the Santa Margarita River canyon are awash with color. I am very lucky to live in a place of such untouched natural beauty.


All is quiet in my world and I am reminded of a passage from the ancient Chinese book of Wisdom, the I Ching. The book was first written by the mythical sage Fu Hsi (2800 b.c.e.-2737 b.c.e.) and codified by King Wen about 1350 b.c.e..

The passage is from hexagram 24, Fu - Returning. It concerns proper conduct during the time after the winter solstice.

Thunder within the earth:

Thus the kings of antiquity closed the passes
At the time of solstice.
Merchants and strangers did not go about,
And the ruler
Did not travel through the provinces.

the judgement:

RETURN. Success.
Going out and coming in without error.
Friends come without blame.
To and fro goes the way.
On the seventh day comes return.
It furthers one to have somewhere to go.

After a time of decay comes the turning point. The powerful light that has
been banished returns. There is movement, but it is not brought about by
force. The upper trigram K'un is characterized by devotion; thus the
movement is natural, arising spontaneously. For this reason the
transformation of the old becomes easy. The old is discarded and the new is
introduced. Both measures accord with the time; therefore no harm results.
Societies of people sharing the same views are formed. But since these
groups come together in full public knowledge and are in harmony with the
time, all selfish separatist tendencies are excluded, and no mistake is made.
The idea of RETURN is based on the course of nature. The movement is
cyclic, and the course completes itself. Therefore it is not necessary to hasten
anything artificially. Everything comes of itself at the appointed time. This is
the meaning of heaven and earth.

All movements are accomplished in six stages, and the seventh brings
return. Thus the winter solstice, with which the decline of the year begins,
comes in the seventh month after the summer solstice; so too sunrise comes
in the seventh double hour after sunset. Therefore seven is the number of
the young light, and it arises when six, the number of the great darkness, is
increased by one. In this way the state of rest gives place to movement.

Here is more of Richard Wilhelm's 1950 translation of the I Ching on the meaning of Returning:

The winter solstice has always been celebrated in China as the resting time of
the year—a custom that survives in the time of rest observed at the new year.
In winter the life energy, symbolized by thunder, the Arousing, is still
underground. Movement is just at its beginning; therefore it must be
strengthened by rest so that it will not be dissipated by being used
prematurely. This principle, i.e., of allowing energy that is renewing itself to
be reinforced by rest, applies to all similar situations. The return of health
after illness, the return of understanding after an estrangement: everything
must be treated tenderly and with care at the beginning, so that the return
may lead to a flowering.


The chinese character for Fu, which also means luck, is said to be a pictograph of a bird taking care of its fledgling.


Our New Year's plans were slightly dashed when one of my circle came down with a horrible flu at the last second. I think that we will listen to the oracle and stay close to home. Rest and wait for the proper moment of return. Everyone please be safe. Peace.

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