Ox outside the box

X in Ox for the Blogging from A to Z.

I am still thinking about my dream about refusing to pick a box or stay in a box. They weren’t comfortable and I did not fit. So this morning I thought about the Chinese year of the Ox, my birth year. I am a Metal Ox, or Ox in the Sea. I knew that there is an Ox outside the Gate, and that brought up Ox outside the box, so I read on line about the different Ox years.There are 60 years of cycles and so five of each Chinese animal year. My daughter is also an Ox, but she is a Fire Ox, Ox on the Way. Each of the 60 has different characteristics and different patterns.

I am surprised to be Metal, but I like to be in the sea. I love the water and I dream of water. My daughter has spent more time in the water, as a synchronized swimmer and swim team member, but I love the sea. I love living near the Salish Sea and the coast as well.

The photograph is from the National Junior Synchronized Swimming competition in 2009 in Federal Way, Washington. This team is practicing a beautiful lift. They are wearing caps and goggles, so this is a practice, not the competition itself. In the competition they will have make up, some sort of sequinned head piece and no goggles….

Water

W for water in the Blogging from A to Z.

Water, water, water. After my mother died of ovarian cancer in 2000, I went to therapy in 2002. I dreamed of water, over and over again.

The photograph is from the 2009 National Junior Synchronized Swimming Competition, in Federal Way, Washington. Cameras with removable zoom lenses were not allowed. There was a professional photographer. I had an electronic camera given to me by my father, with a formidable built in zoom. Synchro is difficult to photograph because they are in the middle of the pool and they are under water at least half the time. I had been practicing taking pictures of my daughter’s intermediate level team and would time the electronic delay to try to catch lifts.

We were at the Junior Nationals volunteering to help. This earned our team points for the northwest district and it takes many volunteers to run the contests.

This is an eight person Junior team at Nationals and six of them are under water. They are not allowed to push off from the bottom. They all have to be in position to do the lift and the person lifted has to be strong and balanced and ready. Two people are being lifted here: the woman below supporting the woman above and in turn, being supported and lifted by the rest of the team. I chose this photo because of the strength, athleticism, balance and teamwork. The team members swim so closely together that they kick and scratch each other. Or fall on each other in a lift. I want all humanity to have this kind of teamwork and lift each other.

Veracity

V for veracity in the Blogging from A to Z challenge.

I am thinking about veracity and my father. Veracity is truth, faithfulness, accuracy, correctness.

I was frustrated about how someone was reacting to something and asked my father about it.

My father said, “Most people don’t want reality.”

“What do you mean?” I said.

“Most people work hard to avoid reality. They have a set of ideas and a world view and they get upset if something does not fit in it or if it is questioned.”

I have been thinking about a song that I learned as a kid. It falls into one of the “Dead Girl” songs, as my sister called them. I think of them as teaching songs. I am taking guitar lessons and my teacher says that he won’t sing those songs.

I will. I like the dark songs. And I am very ambivalent about this song:

There was a wee cooper wha lived in Fife,
Nickety, nackety, noo, noo, noo;
And he had married a gentle wife,
Hey, willy, wallacky, ho John Dougle
Alane, quo rushity roo, roo, roo.

She would na bake nor would she brew,
For spilin’ o’ her comely hue.

she would na caird nor would she spin,
For shamin’ o’ her gentle kin.

The cooper has gone to his wool pack,
And he’s laid a sheep’s skin on his wife’s back.

“I’ll no be shamin’ your gentle kin,
But I will skelp my ain sheepskin.”

“O I will bake and I will brew,
And think nae mair o’ my comely hue.”

“O I will wash and I will spin,
And think nae mair o’ my gentle kin.”

A’ ye what hae gotten a gentle wife,
Send ye for the wee cooper o’ Fife.

This is Child Ballad number 277 and has been recorded by Burl Ives and others.

Ambivalence. It’s a song about wife beating, I don’t approve. But it’s also a song about surviving. A cooper builds barrels. The job division was that the wife would bake and brew, card wool and spin. However, this wife is “gentle” as in gentleman, of “good birth” and rejects the work as beneath her. Does she expect to be served? In the stories of happily ever after, we are happy when the poor underdog poor person wins the love and admiration of the other person, but we don’t see what happens when they go home. In Disney movies, the girls are poor and win a prince. Or Aladdin becomes a prince.

Skelp is defined as “hit, beat, slap”. The song doesn’t say whether the cooper does beat the sheepskin tied to his wife’s back or only threatens to do so.

I love word play so I like the “alane, quo rushity roo, roo, roo.” Nonsense words delight me aside from the topic of the song and I like the tune.

I think that our culture has years of men dominating women and expecting women to obey. I dislike that intensely. At the same time, I don’t like it when people won’t contribute and when they avoid work, so I also have some sympathy for the wee cooper. And our culture spends too much time thinking “happily ever after”, trying to find just the right person. We do not enough time actually asking each other what “happily ever after” would look like. And anyhow, it doesn’t exist. For richer, for poorer, in sickness and health: that is the veracity. We all will have challenges and everyone will have illness and hopefully good times too.

I am thinking of the many people lost in the recent earthquake. Lost: killed suddenly. Enjoy each day and be kind to yourself and others. We never know when grief will strike.