Monday, January 23, 2012

The Year of the Dragon

On our driveway, after a recent ice storm.

Today, in most Asian countries, begins the fifteen day celebration of Chinese New Year.   It is the year of the dragon, a most revered creature in the lunar calendar.  The dragon is seen as having special significance due to the fact that it is the only mythical creature in the calendar.  Those born this year, and every 12th year before or after, are said to have power, superiority and wisdom.   They will naturally excel and be leaders.  

Typically, this is a joyful time for many in China, as they take time away from jobs to go home and be with families.  Yet even in China the effects of the global economy are taking their toll, and many will not have jobs to go back to after this 15 day celebration is over.   I read a story that in Lucy’s province of Jiangxi, one of the poorest in the country, this is particularly true, with many losing their jobs and income.   A disheartening tale that is resonating around the world.

In China, Yin and Yang continue their dual.  And for me, the same rings true:

As I woke this morning and went about my Monday morning routine, I couldn’t help but think about last year at this time, sharing recipes with my Mom and talking about what each of us were going to try, to celebrate Chinese New Year.  My Mom had sent Lucy a special gift in the mail, wanting to be sure to recognize and honor her culture and heritage.  The disconcerting thing about grief is you just never know when it is going to hit you. 

But then…two things happened that helped me refocus, gain some 'balance', and remember my Mom’s eternal presence.

One~ My sister texted me to set up a time to call, so her second grade students could wish Lucy  “Happy Chinese New Year” (in Chinese, mind you)!   It was so fun, and Lucy had a huge smile on her face while getting her sweet greeting from Lisa’s College Wood second graders.  Thanks so much Lisa- these little things mean more than you could know.  

Two~While walking to the exit lines of the grocery store to check out, a huge bin of children’s books was sitting there.  Never before has there been a bin of books sitting there.   I started rustling through it, only to find the book that was meant for me to find:  “Kai Lan:  The Dragon Dance.”  (For those who don’t know Kai Lan is an animated Chinese character;  Lucy has several of her books and two of her DVDs, most given to her by my Mom.)  Once again, my Mom found a way to grace us with her presence, give Lucy a gift, and let us know she is still right here with us…celebrating.    

Later, I will try a new Chinese recipe for dinner;   one I think my Mom would like.  Happy Chinese New Year! 

Taken from the Summer Palace in China.

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