So on a day like today — and today would be Chinese or Lunar New Year– I can imagine the Buddha waiting patiently for the animals to show up to bid him farewell before he departs his earthly coil, and so far, only Clever Rat has shown up. And Rat, being all about impatience and beginnings and perhaps a little overly proud of being first, is sitting there with the Buddha, talking his ear off and just kind of gloating inwardly a little bit.
And then out of the snowy mists, hardworking and dependable Ox appears, its lovely horns decked with ribbons and peach blossoms. And Rat would be pleased to have company and yet a little sad and dejected because it's not Rat's year anymore.
And the Buddha would smile and welcome Ox to sit and relax and take a load off and perhaps to feast on some tender grass that would just happen to be growing there by his foot under a small patch of snow.
There is a little Earthen Ox inside of me waiting to be born, and I wonder what lessons he or she will teach me, stubborn old Fire Dragon lady that I am.
Between you and me and the Interwebs, I am scared poopless.
Gung Hei Fat Choy, dear Interwebs! May this year of the Ox bring happiness to you and all of yours. I leave you with some resources should you want to read up and celebrate a little on your own.
Chinese New Year basic info
Resources for kids and crafts at kaboose
Food/menu ideas at allrecipes
Wikipedia article on Chinese New Year
Wikipedia article on Lunar Astrology (because you shouldn't limit yourself to Western bullhonky astrology, mes chers)