The Harvest Goose

In Animals, Current reading, Dance, Drafts, Food, I Ching, Local projects, Revision, Sanford Meisner on July 2, 2015 at 5:41 am

I’m quite taken by the word-for-word translation of the I Ching hexagrams lent to me by a friend. Far removed from Wilhelm’s Protestant-ethics translation, the word-for-word allows free rein to the imagination in its quirky tales. Take the harvest goose, for instance. She is the main protagonist in hexagram 53, also known as Jian or Gradual Progress.

Other elements in the tale: a tree on a mountain, a man, a woman, a child, a river, flat stones. The gradual progress story is that of the harvest goose who moves, step by step, from the river to the flat stones by riverside. Meanwhile, a married woman waits while the man moves around, doing things.

While the harvest goose progresses, one waddle at a time, two story lines emerge for the married couple: in one there’s an exchange of words and a threat on the child’s life. Followed by a happy feast.

The harvest goose is now in the fields. The husband leaves on an expedition (military, no doubt) and doesn’t come back. The pregnant woman loses the baby and must make opposition to plunderers.

The harvest goose reaches the tree line. Perhaps she will find a smooth branch on which to rest?

Or maybe not. She’s now at the foot of the ancestors’ hill. For three years, the wife isn’t pregnant but, in the end, nothing can stop nature from taking its course.

Meanwhile, the harvest goose waddles along at the level of the ancestors’ hill rising out of the fields, and gathered feathers can be used for rituals involving dances. Nor is there a neat resolution, since whatever happens after the ritual dancing, happens.


Of course, all of this takes time and the story doesn’t fit in a 140 word tweet.

Over here, there was a tiny surge of warmish wind when the sun rose. Shutters down again. I’ll waddle my way over to the real estate agency to sign the lease, waddle over to the market for water and some food. Then, I’ll consider what else I can get done, packing and writing-wise, while the dog sighs and  the warm air hangs loose in the apartment.

  1. Your stories move me. This one especially.

    Which translation of the I Ching were you reading?

    Kind wishes always while reading along quietly,

    • am: the word-for-word is a French document, unfortunately, and probably out of print. However, the folks who worked on this publication have a website with an English-language option http://wengu.tartarie.com/wg/wengu.php?l=Yijing
      They don’t provide the word-for-word on the website but it inspires their online material.
      Best to you, as always

  2. Thank you. Excellent website.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: