Historiography provided the earliest forms of narrative in China and continued to dominate most prose writing until the modern period. The historian created an omniscient, third-person voice and a terse, unembellished style of prose. He typically defined the self from an exterior perspective, against a background of exemplary types enacting well-defined roles.
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Time in these accounts was conventionally represented by means of the recurrent cycles of Chinese chronology; space was charted along an axis emanating from the power center of the court to the margins of the provinces. As a writer, the historian was primarily a processor of information that he collected, evaluated, edited, and retold. He regarded himself as engaging in a self-effacing act of documentation, which allowed him effectively to transmit the meaning of events with the proper combination of factuality and literary embellishment.
There was from the outset a. The court's desire to dominate the writing of history was so intense that at times the private compilation of history was decreed to be illegal, with such acts, when discovered, even resulting in imprisonment. Thus, when a travel writer adopted the narrative persona of the historian, he was appropriating a potent form of literary authority.
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At the same time, because the conventions of historiography governed content, they tended to direct the writer's concerns toward the public values and issues of official, court-centered culture. Historiographical conventions dominate almost exclusively in the few extant examples of early travel writing; they also constitute the primary discourse in works informational in nature, such as guidebooks, records of cities, and accounts of journeys to foreign lands.
It was not until the period of disunity during the Six Dynasties that a complementary, lyrical discourse began to appear in prose, expressing what Yu-kung Kao has defined as the quintessential ideals of "selfcontainment" and "self-contentment" in Nature. In contrast to historiography's paradigms of totality, Chinese lyricism sought to represent an alternate vision.
The lyric poet, operating from a more interior ground of being than the historian, often captured his momentary experiences of self-realization in descriptions of landscapes. In an autobiographical act, he signified an identification of his inner feelings ch'ing with the sensual qualities of scenes ching , using highly imagistic language that often obscured the distinction between observer and object. Similarly, he explored a more subjective sense of time by coordinating shifting perspectives to evoke a vision of the universal Tao as a process of endless transformation. Lyric travel writing ultimately emerged as the most literary means of representing a journey.
Its essential character was defined by the incorporation of individual poetic vision within a narrative framework derived from historiographical discourse. Thus lyric travel writers, whose works are the major focus of this anthology, wore the dual mask of historian and poet in fact, they were often writers of biographies and poetry as well. They created sublime, self-centered worlds—marginal places universalized—as substitutes for the politicized dynastic scene with its unstable and unpredictable power center.
These men's achievement of one of the few genuinely autobiographical forms in Chinese prose was the watershed between a long period of development, when travel writing was dominated almost exclusively by historiographical concerns, and the later, mature phase of travel writing, which sought to inscribe the landscape with the perceptions of the self.
Prior to the travel accounts and travel diaries of the T'ang and Sung, relatively few prose texts survive that are concerned with the representation of a journey. The Book of Documents Shu ching , early-late Chou dynasty contains mythicized descriptions of the ritualized tours of the ancient sage-king Shun:. In the second month of the year, he [Shun] made a tour of inspection to the east as far as Tai-tsung [i. He received the eastern nobles in an audience and put their calendar in order, standardized the musical pitches and the measures of length and volume as well as the five kinds of rituals.
He was presented with the five tokens of rank, three kinds of silk, two living animals and one dead one; he returned the five tokens of rank to the nobles. After finishing his tour, he returned to his capital. In the fifth month, he made a tour of inspection to the south as far as the Southern Sacred Mount, to which he sacrificed in the same manner as at Tai-tsung. Likewise, in the eighth month, he made a western tour of inspection as far as the Western Sacred Mount. In the eleventh month, he made a tour of inspection to the north as far as the Northern Sacred Mount, where he sacrificed as he had in the west.
Upon his return to the capital, he went to the Temple of the Ancestor and offered up an ox. This passage indicates the earliest reasons for writing about travel: to document heroic achievements in ordering the political, spiritual, and material dimensions of the world and to provide a guide for later rulers.
These public themes are paramount in the earliest extant travel narrative of any length, The Chronicle of Mu, Son-of-Heaven Mu T'ientzu chuan , whose earliest strata have been dated around B. Each zone is presided over by a god or political figure who confirms the traveler's authority or acknowledges submission in ritualized encounters fig. The traveler ultimately returns to the power center of the capital having thus demonstrated his control of totality.
The Chronicle of Mu reads like a record of the public activities of the emperor by a court historian:.
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On the day chia-wu , the Son-of-Heaven journeyed west. On hsin-ch'ou , the Son-of-Heaven journeyed north to the P'eng people. They are the descendants of Ho-tsung, Ancestor of the Yellow River. He presented ten leopard skins and twenty-six fine horses. The Son-of-Heaven commanded Ching-li to accept them. The text constitutes the traveler as a man who completely dominates his environment.
He demonstrates his control by journeying to distant locations by horseback and chariot, engaging in political and religious rituals, hunting, banqueting, accumulating and distributing tribute, judging his subjects, and receiving benefits in encounters with spiritual beings. Emperor Mu is largely represented as an impersonal function of the rituals of statecraft; there is little explanation in the text of his inner motivations. We do get a brief personal view when the emperor voices doubts about the moral correctness of his traveling and questions whether he will be judged by history as a profligate for leaving the capital.
Here, the text seems to be answering the criticism of Emperor Mu in the Confucian classic The Tso Commentary to the Spring and Autumn Annals Ch'un-ch'iu Tso chuan —that Emperor Mu "wished to indulge himself" by traveling throughout his kingdom. This is the Confucian view. Unfortunately, the beginning of The Chronicle of Mu is missing, and the work provides no further statement of the emperor's motivations.
Nevertheless, Emperor Mu's concern with the issue of travel bespeaks a primal principle of Chinese political culture, what could be called "the politics of centrality," in which power is believed to emanate from a fixed center and threatens to become dissipated when the center is destabilized and loses its ritualized authority. For the ruler to abandon the capital and travel for pleasure rather than necessity was a serious moral issue, for it meant that he risked losing dominance over the very margins he was visiting. Differing from the negative judgment of The Tso Commentary, The Chronicle of Mu quickly resolves this problem when the emperor is assured by a flattering knight that history will not criticize his desire to travel as long as he maintains the world in a proper state of order, which the ritualized encounters on his journey demonstrate.
The Chronicle of Mu records an early act of inscribing the landscape when it states that after visiting the Queen Mother of the West and banqueting at the Jade Pond fig. The other major example of travel writing that has survived from early antiquity, Guideways through Mountains and Seas Shan-hai ching , ca. Some parts of it appear to have been a guidebook for travelers through known territory; other parts seem to be a description of mythical lands unlikely to be visited.
Both types of landscape are filled with fantastic beings. Another hundred miles east is Green Hill Mountain. On its south side is much jade; on its north side is much azurite. There is an animal here with the shape of a fox with nine tails. It makes a sound like a baby and devours men. By caring it, one can avoid evil forces. There is a bird here with the form of a dove. It makes a sound like men shouting. Its name is the Kuan-kuan. Wearing it at the waist will prevent delusions. The Ying River issues forth from here and flows south into the Chi-i Marsh. There are many red ju -fish, which have the form of a fish with a human face.
They make sounds like mandarin ducks. Eating them will prevent skin disease. The gods are in the form of birds with dragon heads. The proper sacrifice uses animals with hair and a jade chang -blade, which are buried. The rice offering uses glutinous rice, a jade pi -disc, and hulled rice. White chien -straw is used for mats.
Those routes through surrounding regions termed "Great Wilds" Tahuang contain a wealth of early mythology about the bizarre peoples and strange gods who inhabit these distant zones fig. There is an animal here with heads on the right and left named the P'ing-p'eng. There is Shaman Mountain. There is Valley Mountain.
There are single-wing birds who fly in pairs. There is a white bird with green wings, yellow tail, and a black beak. There is a red dog called Celestial Dog. Wherever he descends, war occurs. There is a god with the face of a human and the body of a tiger, with a white spotted tail, who lives here. Below, the depths of the Weak River surrounds the. Anything that is tossed up there bursts into flames. There is a person there who wears a headdress, has tiger teeth, the tail of a leopard, and lives in a cave named Queen Mother of the West.
This mountain contains every kind of object. The traveler of the Guideways is never personified and can only be read as a function of the itineraries. In the chapters on relatively familiar territory, the care given to describe sacrificial offerings reveals a world in which the naive traveler is at risk unless he performs the proper rituals. In the chapters on the Great Wilds, by contrast, the prospective traveler is given no advice concerning sacrifices, and the routes in these chapters seem poorly defined, even unfeasible.
For later readers, such as the lyric poet T'ao Ch'ien — , it was precisely the exoticism of such territories that appealed to them, stimulating their fascination with the strange. Fundamental historiographical frames of time and space in both these texts reappear as regular features of later travel writing. The Chronicle of Mu employs the chronology of the "horary sterns" system, which encloses linear sequences within recurring cycles. In addition, the Guideways describes each mountain in the chapters on familiar territory using exactly the same categories of key features, thus creating a rhythmic repetition, an illusion of control over Nature in which the danger of the unexpected is absent and unseen spirits can be managed.
In later travel writing, the tendency for writers to select the same categories of objects for scrutiny and conventionalize the basic elements of a scene can be read as a similar effort to enclose and order the world. Compared to their Western counterparts, later Chinese travel writers described remarkably few irrational, terrifying landscapes, bizarre or grotesque experiences, or journeys of unremitting physical suffering.
During this early phase, classical philosophers of the later Chou dynasty defined some of the basic ideological meanings of travel, meanings that continued to guide the perceptions of later writers. The Confucian school and the writer s of the "Inner Chapters" of the Chuang-tzu in particular asserted complementary visions of how travel affected moral and spiritual perceptions of the Tao , the nature of Nature and the ways of being in it, as well as the role of language.
Classical Confucianism articulated several views about travel from the standpoint of its program of self-cultivation and ruling the world. As an ideology, Confucianism arose to reverse the disintegration of the centralized Chou feudal system due to the rapid mobility of new local elites. Li was largely antithetical to any concept of spontaneous, unconstrained movement based on personal desire. Travel by a ruler could be justified only as a pragmatic extension of the moral Tao from the political center—hence The Tso Commentary's critique of Emperor Mu. Confucius — B.
To the extent that perfect Confucian government was associated with temporal repetition of moral activity and the spatial stability of its rulers, purely personal travel in the context of statecraft was synonymous with destabilization and a loosening of the bonds of li.
In what is perhaps the line most quoted in later Chinese travel writing, he said: "The wise man delights in streams; the humane man delights in mountains. Indeed, this statement was often appropriated by later writers to defend their private, pleasurable journeys as proper acts of self-cultivation. Nevertheless, Confucius did not view Nature as an alternate sphere of subjective feeling within which the traveler could transcend the political world; his concept of "beauty" shan identified the aesthetic with the morally good.
The landscape for him was thus a didactic scene where the Noble Man prepared himself for his proper role as a ruler at the center of the sociopolitical world. Related to the discovery in Nature of a mirror of the moral self is the idea that certain scenic views can provide a total perspective on the world. The Mencius Meng-tzu states that when Confucius climbed East Mountain Tung-shan , he realized the relative insignificance of his home state of Lu; and when he climbed the Supreme Mountain T'aishan , the empire appeared small.
The descriptions were not of arduous conquests of death-defying heights, for most of the important Chinese mountains were well under six thousand feet, and even a hill, terrace, or pavilion might serve to provide the experience. Rather, the ascents were generally safe though sometimes demanding hikes to points offering scenic panoramas that writers represented as symbolic of an all-encompassing view of reality. The process of more grounded travel was often represented as yielding a series of partial perspectives indicative of the finitude of the human condition.
But the heights of mountains were widely believed to be points of contact with Heaven itself, where the traveler could gain the "grand view" takuan. Confucius also articulated another issue that lay at the heart of the act of literary inscription: the correspondence of "name" ming and "reality" shih. When asked what he would put first if given the administration of the state of Wei, he replied, "the rectification of names" cheng-ming ,  which he saw as fundamental to speech and action as well as to the institutionalization of ritual and punishments.
In Confucian ideology, such naming was seen as a core function of the ruling class, who would employ the classical language to recover the moral structure of the golden age of the sage-kings. The travel writer as a Noble Man rectifying names is a persona that appears in a number of texts, particularly the subgenre of the "valedictory travel account. In contrast to travel as a purposeful activity whose ultimate goal was the restoration of moral and political order, the Chuang-tzu presents travel as liberation from the unnatural constraints of society, a spiritualized venturing forth into the unrestricted realm of authentic.
If the purpose of the Confucian itinerary can be summed up in the ideals of self-cultivation and ruling the world, the phrase "free and easy wandering" hsiao-yao yu —the title of the first chapter of this work—became the bywords of all who, following the Chuang-tzu , sought escape from the strife of the dynastic scene. In a number of fables, tropes of floating on the wind or down a river serve to convey man's natural, effortless participation in the Tao.
Many of the characters are described as constantly on the move. The gigantic p'eng -bird metamorphoses from the k'un -fish and flies from the northern darkness to the Celestial Lake in the south, a trope for the continuum of the Tao as ongoing transformation and bipolar alternation. Images of water occupy a particularly important role in the Chuang-tzu. In the chapter "Autumn Floods" Ch'iu-shui , the relativism of all perspectives is comprehended by the Lord of the Yellow River, who flows into the even vaster North Sea and realizes the limitations of his existing mental parameters.
This fundamental relativism perceived from a shifting ground on Earth is the Chuang-tzu 's alternative to the "grand view," which for Confucius emerged from an ascent to a fixed point on the border of Heaven. Of the modes of "free and easy wandering," that which is unconscious is asserted to be the highest.
Even the Taoist philosopher Liehtzu is criticized for relying on a dependent mode of travel—he uses the wind—instead of on "unwilled activity" wu-wei. Characteristically, those who achieve this mode are not dominating emperors or upright Confucians but lowlife figures such as millipedes, snakes, and shadows.
The Ckuang-tzu even recommends travel as the solution to the impediments of human reason. When the logician Hui-tzu is unable to figure out a practical use for a huge gourd, Chuang-tzu recommends that he use it to "go floating around the rivers and lakes. Both Confucius and the writer s of the Chuang-tzu would have agreed that the way of being in a place was more important than regarding the place as a destination. They relied on the myths of a golden age in antiquity and saw travel as facilitating a return to original human nature.
These attitudes may explain, in part, why the quest is less significant in Chinese travel writing than in Western travel writing, and why many journeys are represented as ramblings that produce casual perceptions and insights rather than as roads to a specific object of power. As an alternate vision to Confucian ideology, the Chuang-tzu remained an influential text in Chinese culture, reaffirming a self-centered view of travel.
Moreover, despite the Chuang-tzu 's antipathy to language as unstable and incapable of accurate signification, it in-. During the Ch'in and Han dynasties, the kind of ritual progresses earlier recorded in The Book of Documents and The Chronicle: of Mu were officially documented by Han historians.
Following the extensive tours of the First Emperor of Ch'in r. This ritual tour had the dual agenda of sacrificing to Heaven and Earth and enhancing the emperor's longevity, for wizards had convinced him that the Yellow Emperor had succeeded in just such a quest in antiquity. The account, which was probably prepared as an official report, was presented through the eyes of its author, Ma Ti-po, an official who preceded the emperor to make arrangements.
It demystitles the idealized itineraria by not recording the emperor as having encountered any spiritual beings. In fact, far from extending his life, one year after returning to the capital he died. This unique exemplar suggests that writers in the Han may have already developed first-person travel writing, and reveals the incompleteness of our knowledge of the corpus of early Chinese literature given the limited number of surviving texts. Early Chinese writers represented the journey primarily in poetry rather than prose, as seen particularly in the Ch'u tz'u collection of the Warring States period and the fu rhapsody of the Han and Six Dynasties.
A number of poems of the Ch'u tz'u codified around the first century B. In "Nine Songs" Chiu-ko , the shaman is in quest of gods and goddesses who. Yet his search proves fruitless; even allies sought among spirits and shamans fail to guide him. The influence of this particular poem on lyric travel writing was considerable: indeed, it was traditionally regarded as the locus classicus of tragic experience in literature, of unsatisfied questing, and of the expression of plaintive emotions. The writer of "On Encountering Sorrow," in the end, was unable to view Nature as a mirror of personal virtue, a scene of transformation, or a soothing refuge.
The environments he visited prove to be merely extensions of his anguished sorrow and feelings of misunderstanding. With the political and ideological consolidation of the Han dynasty during the second century B. Elements existing in spiritual, historical, mythical, geographical, political, moral, and bodily zones were believed linked by elaborate correspondences and were brought into conjunction with one another through events of sympathetic response.
Among the outstanding fu rhapsodies on distant travel were Pan Piao's A. All three pieces, however, treat the journey as a. The actual narrative of the journey itself and the objective description of the landscape play relatively small roles in these later rhapsodies. Rather, they serve as a framework for reflections on moral history.
Each site is perceived as connected to personalities and events that in turn provoke emotions and judgments on the part of the writer, who mostly wears the mask of the historian. These later travel rhapsodies represent an advance in realism over the earlier courtly pieces. While still utilizing parallelism and allusive language, they no longer celebrate a well-ordered cosmos centered on the emperor. The journey marks the irony felt by the individual writer forced to travel, while his rectification of the past substitutes for the world he has lost.
A set of verbal techniques essential to both the Ch'u tz'u and the fu rhapsody was codified into a euphuistic style later termed "parallel prose" p'ien-wen. It became the most prestigious form of writing at court until the later dynasties and was utilized in both official documents and more literary endeavors. The lofty, often difficult diction utilized a dense texture of figuration and a host of learned allusions, conveying an aesthetic: of erudition, elegance, and courtliness. Complementarity was the most apparent feature of parallel prose.
The correlation of signs into two mutually implicating, polar categories formed a powerful rhetorical device for representing totality and still underlies profound patterns of thought present throughout Chinese culture. The very concept of hindscape, shan-shui —literally, "mountain-water"—depended on such a perceived parallelism in Nature, within which the traveler was situated. Other polarities such as Heaven and Earth, yin and yang , past and present, capital and wilderness, constituted archetypal axes that travel writers employed to chart their journeys through the world.
One result of this emphasis on spatial representation is that the actual journey to a place is often not crucial and may not even be mentioned as such, while striking features in the landscape such as architecture, gardens, mountains, caves, or springs become the exclusive focus of interest. The reader may be told little about the rigors of the road, where the traveler spent the night, what he ate or whether it. How and why he arrived at his destination may be briefly noted at the beginning or end, or not at all.
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In Chinese travel writing, attention is usually placed instead on the pattern of shifting observations and responses to the environment. These are generally more important than a logical emplotment of change in the writer's status or personality as he proceeds from one point to another, as occurs in many Western narratives. Parallel prose can be found to varying extent in almost every travel account and diary, especially in descriptive passages.
During this early period, it was notably employed throughout Pao Chao's ca. Toward the end of the Eastern Han dynasty, imperial power declined as nobles, local clans, and military commanders usurped authority. The empire fragmented into regional power centers, and the prestige of the court culture eroded. The complete collapse of the Han world order in the early third century, which was followed by three centuries of disunity, marked another important phase in the development of early travel writing.
The succeeding Six Dynasties period was an age of mass migrations and unstable political centers. The fall of the Western Chin in marked the beginning of a split between north and south that was to last for two centuries. When the non-Chinese T'o-pa tribe conquered the north, native Chinese aristocrats and many among the general population were forced to flee to the safety of the Long River Ch'ang-chiang; also Yangtze area. In the south, a similar series of weak dynasties preserved some of the purer elements of the southern and the displaced northern Chinese cultures.
All the dynasties of this period were plagued by an inability to expand their territory militarily and by bloody internal competitions for power. The result was the rise of localized aristocratic cultures in which talented individuals searched for universal meanings beyond the Confucian moral and political vision. Buddhist and Taoist forms of spiritual cultivation spread, influencing a broad segment of cultural forms. Among writers, transcendence, individual consciousness, and aesthetic appreciation became major preoccupations of various cults that celebrated Nature. The former is a melancholy pondering of time and mortality on the occasion of a poetic gathering of outstanding talents by a stream.
The latter narrates a rapturous encounter of religious devotees with the scenery of Hermitage Mountain Lu-shan , a major center of Buddhist and Taoist activity. Painting and painting criticism became meaningful adjuncts to travel writing because of the growing interest in depicting landscapes. The painting critic and Buddhist layman Tsung Ping — , for example, was associated with the ethos of Hermitage Mountain.
His theory, which has been termed "Landscape Buddhism," viewed mountains as no longer fearful zones ruled by spirits but as scenes of enlightenment. He regarded painted landscapes as substitute aids to meditation, icons that conveyed through similitude the spiritual truth to be found in Nature. Literary criticism, another phenomenon that developed during this period, stressed the importance of Nature as a source of both inspiration and aesthetic criteria for the writer.
But it was with the rise of a new kind of shih poetry—subjective, private, obsessed with transcending politics and with finding an alternative sphere for the self—that the Chinese lyrical impulse began to achieve its classic expression. Just as painting stressed resemblance in representation, the shih poetry of the Six Dynasties made scenic description a touchstone of the poet's talent. Chung Hung ca. Both men referred to this tendency as "responding to things" kan-wu , a phrase that came to denote a new subgenre of poetry.
In poems that explored fantastic journeys, such as those about "wandering Transcendents" yu-hsien , as well as poems recounting actual travels, the landscape was systematically surveyed and scenes depicted with a new devotion to concrete detail. Both figures also became celebrated in the literary culture as ardent travelers who turned to Nature when disillusioned with official life.
Rejecting the humiliations and dangers of political life in middle age, he resigned from office as a minor magistrate to return to an impoverished life of farming and excursions. T'ao reacted against the dominant tradition of literary embellishment by employing a simplified diction to create a poetic ideal of "natural freedom" tzu-jan and contentment amid rural scenes.
Originally the preface to a poem, this piece became the most influential vision of utopia, to which later travel writers often alluded as they searched for their own ideal worlds. On the fifth day of the first month in the year hsin-ch'ou [February 3, ], the sky was clear and the weather was mild, while all Nature seemed beautiful. I went with a few neighbors on an outing to Zigzag Stream. Standing on the banks of the flowing current, we gazed beyond at the Many-storied Citadel. Bream and carp leapt in the twilight; seagulls soared about on the balmy drafts.
Over there, South Mountain has long been famous—no need for us to exclaim its praises. As for the Many-storied Citadel here, nothing connects with it as it stands in solitary beauty. We imagined the Divine Mountain far away and were delighted by its appropriate name. Since it was not enough simply to encounter all this, we wrote poems. We felt sorrow over the suns and moons gone by and mourned the years of our lives that keep on passing.
Each of us inscribed our ages and hometowns so as to commemorate this occasion. T'ao was one of the first to create images of himself in his poetry and prose, advancing the art of autobiography. Unlike T'ao, the aristocratic Hsieh remained involved in the turbulent political life of the time, alternating between periods of service and disillusioned retirement.
He also experienced exile and was finally executed while still relatively young. Most of Hsieh's landscape poems were written after a major political reversal when he was exiled to the scenic but isolated Yung-chia area in modern Che-chiang, and also during the periods when he withdrew from official life to his extensive family estate at Shih-ning modern Shan-yu, Che-chiang. Hsieh was an adventuresome traveler, always seeking out famous mountains in his vicinity, then trying to capture his sense of profound contact with their significant features in a style of verisimilitude.
Many of these places serve as sites of self-effacement as the poet blends into a cosmic unity. I will only describe mountains and plains, plants and trees, streams and rocks. Hsieh also produced a work of short entries in prose about sites he had visited, Travels to Famous Mountains Yu minx-shan chih. Apparently, it was gradually compiled between about and The extant entries cover mountains in modern Che-chiang and Chiang-hsi that correspond to many described in his poems. Each entry is a one-line geographical description without any narrative elements or poetic observations.
Yet the preface can be read as a credo of the Chinese literary traveler who preferred the search for natural beauty to the dangers of politics:. Food and clothing are necessities of life; mountains and streams are what human nature takes pleasure in. Now, I have abandoned the burden of such necessities and have embraced my human nature, which enjoys such pleasures.
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It is commonly avowed that the happiness enjoyed in elegant mansions is satisfying enough, while those who sleep on cliffs and wash in streams lack great ambitions and can only preserve their withered bodies. I say, "Not so! Only those with talent can control the tendency toward dissipation. Thus, there are those who will endure the circumstances in order to aid their fellow man. Yet how could the stage of fame and profit be more worthy than a place that is broad and pure? The cats watch with me, purring unpleasantly between their teeth. Sitting with them I learn the unclean secrets of tigers and the language of the Green Man.
Each day the thistle pagoda rises a little higher It is geodesic wonder. It is fractal fantabulous. Brighid is in there somewhere. Each day too I rise a little higher. Or delve a little deeper. It is hard to say which direction is which in this waving orchestra of grass. How many different kinds of grass are there in this Mayo field? And how many languages do they speak? And how many flowers are there here? And how many silent songs to make me weep? Attracted by the chanting of the of orchids, I notice now Brighid is here.
When I walked past your window last night a blizzard of starlight fell upon me. Although I am no forensic scientist, I knew something had touched me and afterwards in the cold light of the moon I examined myself and saw that there remained icy fingerprints all along my body, whispering silently.
I am no expert, but they sounded quite like yours. That is when I first came to realise, after the fact, That I must be a crime scene. You are a seeded sphere of life tumbling on the breath of the solar wind. I am only a single seed blowing in that unimaginable void. A half memory wavers on the path I am walking like the moonlit tracks of a snail on a forgotten veranda. I shall be careful in future where I put my feet. There is, by the way, no statute of limitations. Not for these crimes. If you had been here tonight I would have said -Sit by the fire with me!
Listen to the burning turf weaving poetry out of the dry stalks of the long lost bog! There is no saying whom you might meet. Here the souls of the dead are everywhere. They had sooner leave their own shadows than leave their own stories behind. The gary-gowlan is out there in his jack-a-lantern boots, standing guard with his pitchfork at their graves. Listen to the hissing turf coals keening those old lost stories. We can watch prehistory turning to ash before our eyes.
The night you were not here I stepped outside and looked up into my own darkness. The unimaginable past fell around me as starlight. How is my outside today? In a pink dressing gown I step out. The sun snaps shut like a Venetian blind! The first drops of rain whistle past me like grape shot! Who have I offended today? I curse the garden nymphs.
Who are these activist women? Wet the tea!! The thunder claps twice, applauding ominously. Rumbles of discontent run through the bean rows, and a flicker of red gnome caps bolting. White light flickers behind the black forestry horizon. Broom sticks rattle in the pottery. Wet the tea! I laugh out loud, feeling the wind in my face.
My dressing gown blows up with a cackle and I flash forked lightning for the neighbours. On the compost heap green umbrella leaves creep like caterpillars over the steaming mound and the nasturtium flowers they engender grin at me with orange faces like painted bridesmaids at a traveller wedding. Who shall I offend today? There are watermen rising, holding themselves together, trembling shimmering like water spouts of wet gauze on the fringe of the forestry.
And water women in dripping cauls flopping wetly through the sodden marls next the dry the esker where the sand creeps through. And water cattle, snorting steamy steam as they avoid the suck of the bog-turbaries. And waterweed and moss rolls like a tidal wave across the whole wet world.
Banging on the roof! Can ye stop yer mewling! You told me to exercise. They're not always shy, but often they are. Orchid children have this phenomenon of either having the best or the worst outcomes depending upon the kinds of experiences that they have. They are kids who often withdraw from novel situations. They have a hard time going into experiences that are fresh and new and for them quite challenging. And they have often a variety of sensory sensitivities. An orchid child might, for example, have great reactivity behaviorally to loud sounds, might have taste aversions, might have other kind of sensory sensitivities that are characteristic of that kind of child.
DAVIES: There's a chapter where you give some practical advice on how to help an orchid child deal with the special sensitivities that they bring. One of them is routine. You say they're - they might be - have more difficulty with, you know, change. How does that work out day-to-day? BOYCE: The - this - routines and kind of the sameness, if you will, from day-to-day, week-to-week life I believe is good for all children. And really all of these things that we think of as helpful to an orchid child - none of them is not helpful to a dandelion child, but they seem to be things that are especially beneficial to a child who has this great sensitivity and susceptibility to their environment.
So routines is certainly one of them. Orchid children seem to thrive on having things like dinner every night in the same place at the same time with the same people, having certain kinds of rituals that the family goes through week-to-week, month-to-month. Going to temple, going to church, meeting with the extended family - whatever it is, this kind of routine and sameness of life from day-to-day, week-to-week seems to be something that is helpful to kids with these great susceptibilities.
And there are times of course when we want kids to stretch themselves, and you want to nudge them. And you say that there's a - the trick is to sort of find out when to nudge and when is - you know, when to protect them from something new and when to push them a little bit.
How do we know?
The parent of an orchid child needs to walk this very fine line between, on the one hand, not pushing them into circumstances that are really going to overwhelm them and make them greatly fearful but, on the other hand, not protecting them so much that they don't have experiences of mastery of these kind of fearful situations. An example that I have used is going to a birthday party with a group of kids that are not all familiar to the child. It may be that that is such a fearful experience for an orchid child that a parent has to make the judgment, look, you really don't have to go to this if you don't want to go.
But on the other hand, it may be an experience where the parent says, you know, I know you can do this; and I'm going to be there with you; and let's go and see if we can't have a good time doing this. So this balancing of a child's fear with the need for exposure to and mastery of these kind of fearful situations is a challenging task for parents who have an orchid child. It's - there is no rule of thumb other than what the parent has learned about that little child over the course of the years that he or she has had with the child.
There are, you know, signals that a child may show to really indicate that this is a truly fearful experience. And I think in those circumstances that it's important for a parent to back off and to say, look, you really don't have to do this. But on the other hand, I think parents often have good intuitions that a novel situation that is challenging to an orchid child can be done and can be mastered by the child. And that experience of mastery is really an important experience for a child who has these kind of sensitivities. Original Source.
Northern California Public Media Newsletter. Get the latest updates on programs and events. Back Education Home. Interview highlights: On the lab test he did to determine if a child is an orchid or a dandelion We made an effort to try to understand these individual differences between children in how they respond biologically to mild, common kinds of challenges and stressors, and the way we did that was we brought them into a laboratory setting.
On how a child's responsivity to stressors can be connected to physical and emotional behavioral outcomes We find in our research that the same kinds of patterns of response are found for both physical illnesses, like severe respiratory disease, pneumonia, asthma and so on, as well as or more [in] emotional behavioral outcomes, like anxiety and depression and externalizing kinds of symptoms. On how children's experiences can vary, even within the same family The experience of children within a given family, the siblings within a family — although they are being reared with the same parents in the same house in the same neighborhood — they actually have quite different kinds of experiences that depend upon the birth order of the child, the gender of the child, to some extent differences in genetic sequence.
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