In Spring one sleeps
absent to morning
hears the birds singing:
After all night
the voice of the storm
And petals fell —
who knows how many?
Li Po (701-762 A.D.)
Looking at Springtime
In fallen States
hills and streams are found,
Cities have Spring,
grass and leaves abound;
Though at such times
flowers might drop tears,
Parting from mates,
birds have hidden fears:
The beacon fires
have now linked three moons,
Making home news
worth ten thousand coins;
An old grey head
scratched at each mishap
Has dwindling hair,
does not fit its cap!
Tu Fu (757 A.D.)
In the circular flow of life, the hibernation and dormancy of winter, the energy stored and regenerated in winter, can now freely move with the bursting impulse of spring. With its potential for treasuring and building up of our resources to feed the seeds for future plans and actions, winter gives way to the display of spring. Suddenly, life springs forth. Flocks of birds arrive from the south. Ice melts and water in the springs swells. Life uncoils with the heads of emerging daffodils signaling new beginnings. Gradually emerge bright colors, delicate leaves, scents of flowers. The stored energy of spring, through its impulses and directions, pierces and bursts upwards, pushing life up and out. The energy of spring and its movement has the power of producing life and the power of beginnings: the beginning of movements, the removal of obstacles and the creation of free movement.
There is a tension in the effort of sprouting forth and surging upwards acquired in spring. In Chinese, part of the character for spring is a man shooting a bow and arrow. There is a tension and a force in the movement of a drawn bow. This energy represents the expression of potential, the expression of life. The treasured seed of winter can now begin to unfold towards its development and future destiny.
With the rebirth of life in spring there is also hope, an orientation towards life that moves us with a sense of direction, purpose and optimism, with the determination necessary for meeting our goals.
There is a similar movement to the spring in us, particularly during this season. Springtime brings up in us specific questions and challenges. How do I deal with beginnings? In facing obstacles, like a young shoot, do I bend and yield yet still push around them and upward? Do I accept barriers which are insurmountable, or do I push making thing worse? Am I appropriately active and forceful? Do I assert my will to act and move forth? Do I continually retreat or do I often well up with frustration or hostile anger in the face of obstacles and adversity? Do I become oppositional, hitting my head against situations and others? Do I meet life with a sense of hope and direction, and am I decisive about my life choices and strivings? How effectively am I in allowing the unfolding of my nascent potential towards its fulfillment and destiny? In finding answers to these questions and meeting these challenges, we can benefit from the energy and movement of spring.
The Spring River
Heat and cold, dusk and dawn have crowded one upon the other;
Suddenly I find it is two years since I came to Chung-chou.
Through my closed doors I hear nothing but the morning and evening drum;
From my upper windows all I see is the ships that come and go.
In vain the orioles tempt me with their song to stray beneath the flowering trees;
In vain the grasses lure me by their color to sit beside the pond.
There is one thing and one alone I never tire of watching —
The spring river as it trickles over the stones and babbles past the rocks.
Su Wen Chapter 2
(Chinese Medical Classic)
The three months of spring
Are called spring forth and display.
Heaven and Earth together produce life,
And the 10,000 beings are invigorated.
At night, one goes to bed, at dawn, one gets up.
One paces in the courtyard with great strides,
Hair loose, body relaxed,
Exerting the will for life;
To give life and not to kill.
To give and not to take,
To reward and not to punish.
This is the way that is proper
To the qi of spring.
Which thus corresponds
To the maintaining of the production of life.
To go against this current
Would injure the liver,
Causing illnesses in the summer due to cold,
Through an insufficient contribution to growth.
(Larre & Rochat de la Vallee, 1994, p. 6.)
At the End of Spring
The flower of the pear-tree gathers and turns to fruit;
The swallows’ eggs have hatched into young birds.
When the Seasons’ changes thus confront the mind
What comfort can the Doctrine of Tao give?
It will teach me to watch the days and months fly
Without grieving that Youth slips away;
If the Fleeting World is but a long dream,
It does not matter whether one is young or old.
But ever since the day that my friend left my side
And has lived an exile in the City of Chiang-ling,
There is one which I cannot quite destroy:
That from time to time we may chance to meet again.
To Yüan Chîn (810 A.D)