Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Year of the Rat

Year of the Rat

2008, the Year of the Rat. The story is that the Jade Emperor invited the animals for a party. The first 12 to arrive were the Rat, followed by the Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Sheep, Monkey, Rooster, Dog, and lastly, the Pig. Why was the rat first? The animals had to cross a celestial river, and the Rat asked the Ox to ferry him across. When they arrived on the other side, the Rat jumped down off the Ox's head, touching ground first, and that's how he gained first spot in the order of the Chinese zodiac, much to the Ox's chagrin.

In a similar vein, can you imagine if the second man on the moon had pushed past the first to take top spot in the history books?! Most unseemly. Not that there's much room to do anything on those lunar vehicles. I saw one at a museum and the occupants have very little space to maneuvre.

In this fractal, the rat is looking at you over his shoulder. You can make out his eyes and ears and nose, with a little imagination, and his hind quarters, as though he's just jumped down off the Ox's head and is looking back.

Happy New Year to all!