8.06.2012

moments

Living with Mom can be challenging.  Some days, it can be a down right pain.  But there are very precious moments that happen, and I wouldn't change them for anything.

My mother is 73.  She was one of five, and only completed four years of school.  So sometimes, explaining things is a real challenge.

But I love it.

She saw a clip of the rover Curiosity on TV and didn't understand what it was.  So, with the help of the internet and the Google Translator, I was able to show her what Mars was, and an article on the rover in Thai.

So then I go into explaining the solar system, and our position in it.  And where the the rover went.  And then the perspective of one star, our solar system, the galaxy, and how there were many, many galaxies.  I'm getting excited, because if you know me, you know that I get really excited when I get to share knowledge.  It makes me happy.  And Mom was really interested to know.

So I tell her that the name of the planet in English is Mars, and how he's a god of war.  I tell her that there's a lot of things like that, stars and such, that have stories, and that Americans don't really have that kind of history, so we borrow our stories from other cultures.  Mainly, what people know and teach deal with the Romans.

So she begins to tell me a story.  I'll make it a little more fluid, not everyone speaks the mothertongue.

"Once there was a monk, and the monk happened upon a very poor farmer and his wife early one morning.  The farmer had nothing, save for an old mule and a hen that had just hatched some chicks.  They scarcely had food for themselves, but they wanted to do something nice for the monk.  So they decided they would kill the mother hen.

The farmer's wife went to collect the hen, but when she tried, all the chicks ran up underneath the hen.  This made the farmer's wife feel bad, and she decided she would catch the chicken later on, when the chicks were not around.

The mother hen looked at her seven little chicks and took the eldest one aside.

"My dear daughter," she said.  "The farmer and his will will take me and cook me.  When you see the red blood flow, I want you to know that I am gone.  Please take care of your sisters as I would."

Later on, the farmer came and collected the hen.  He killed the chicken, and after his wife had stripped the feathers, she built a fire and put a pot of water on to boil.  When the water began to boil, she put the chicken carcass inside.  The chicks were so distraught, each and every one of the seven little chicks jumped into the fire to their deaths.  They would rather die all together than live without their mother.

Buddha, touched by the love of these chicks and their mother, turned them into stars."

And that is the story of Pleiades, the Thai folklore.  Or at least, as close as it was to the way my mother told the story.

It was beautiful, sad, and amazing, her storytelling.  I began to tell her the story of the seven sisters of the Roman mythology, then showed her on the map the time and distance.  It was amazing to me, that half a world away, there the symbolism showed.  I didn't go into archetypes and all that mess.  Just as simply as you can put it, it was a wonderful moment.  
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