Written by Iris Disse
Yin and Yang
The rhythm: passive and active, night and day, light and shadow, water and fire, winter and summer. When the active principle increases, the passive principle decreases. Until the activity reaches its peak and sinks again. And so then the Yin rises, which is always there, the life force that permeates everything.
The symbol: two intertwined black and white drops that form a circle. One cannot be without the other. Opposites do not want to destroy each other, but dance with each other.
Beware- in black lies the white seed, in white the seed of the black. In defeat lies the seed of success, in success already the coming defeat. This is how the ancient Chinese sages see it.
I find it exciting. I want to experience a Yin time. After all, I am a super-active Yangfrau- if you can put it that casually. Is that even possible? All the way in?
I don’t know how. But a meditative time by the sea, just me and myself, without a book, without a computer, without a telephone- that sounds like the perfect Yin. Water and a journey to the inside, where I look into the world without “doing” anything- in a completely female, passive way. Observing without judging or acting. But the time I want to do this is the perfect Yang- summer. On the other hand, it is rainy season here at the equator, and a cloudy day in summer is Yin again, just like the rain.
The Meandering of Time in Yin
My house is small. Two big black vulture feathers are stuck on the balustrade at the entrance. Upright they protect my place.
No, I do not live there alone.
During the day, swallows feed their young under the canopy at the entrance.
They have huge yellow chasubles, and they chirp and talk all day long.
The swallows fly around my house, not letting the flocks of mosquitoes and flies in. Now and then, they catch a butterfly, too. I hear it crying, but it doesn’t help it.
The big, glaring triangular chasms devour them too.
The swallows flit and sail and beat hooks. They catch their prey in flight. It looks so easy.
In the evening, when the swallows come to the young to stay, it becomes quiet in the nest.
But I hear other voices chirping, close by. No, not the crickets, but I hear them too. Arrows shoot out of the bamboo beams and zigzag around the palm trees.
Bats, you erratic hunters, protect my sleep.
In the morning my entrance is full of bat droppings. I sweep it away.
The wind plays in the crowns of the palm trees so that they rattle and rustle softly.
The wind plays around my head, and so I prefer to eat indoors because it’s demanding Yang confuses me.
At night I love the tender music of the wind in the palm trees, when I stretch out naked on my sheet.
I live with swallows and bats. Every once in a while I chase a cockroach in the closets. Little ants love my fruit.
Today there are horses outside strolling along the beach- three brown ones and a white mare. I am happy because Yin, the female life force of the universe, is symbolized by the mare. It is a graceful animal that can perform great things with ease.
It’s a good sign, I think.
Sometimes I see Yang- a man jogging in front of the vastness of the sea.
When it rattles, it is the neighbour with a big four-wheeled motorbike.
He has a gas tank on the back.
In the twilight I go for a walk. The clouds chase across the sky.
Vultures sit on an uprooted tree. They don’t fly up when I get closer. Some are still circling in the air- elegant and calm.
In the evening a thunderstorm breaks out. When it flashes I see white trunks of coconut palms in the pale light, and behind them the sea in the distance.
Once I also see the silhouette of a man, very close, where the palms end and the beach begins.
In the deep darkness after the next flash I see lights in front of the low gate. Are there men lighting a cigarette? My heart starts beating with fear.
Then a gust of wind, and I see the lights are far out, a fishing boat on the horizon.
The rain comes back, lightly. Fireflies fly around the palm trees. Isn’t every raindrop like a falling rock for such a small light? How do they do it?
It drums loudly on my tin roof.
A vulture came by this morning. He stops in front of my porch and we look at each other. Vultures are Yin birds, I think, messengers of the dark death.
In a hurry, he walks away again.
Hurray, I’m still alive.
Low tide at noon. I go out onto the sandbar that stretches into the sea like a tongue. The deep blue of a stranded jellyfish. A big crab with blue claws runs away from me. I am surrounded by water. At the top, small white seagulls rise calmly as I approach and settle down not too far from the edge of the wave. Black quicksand on a light background shimmers in a rainbow colour. Yin and Yang in the rainbow. Everything is simple.
At dusk I sit on the beach far above in the branches of the uprooted tree, whose branches stretch bizarrely and naked into the air. The vultures are not there. The tide is high, the branches of the crown on the sand are washed by the waves. The thick branch near the sea shines golden yellow, the bark was peeled off from the waves. I look at the sky. The sun is sinking above a bank of clouds. A pegasus on horseback jumps into the embers. Six pelicans fly over the foaming waves.
I wonder where they live.
Down below, I see red root webs in the sand and stalks of fallen palm trees.
Has there been a recent storm surge?
Later I ask Doña Gladys when I buy vegetables and matches in her shop.
She gives me a piece of cake and says: “No, the sea is rising. Three acres of palm grove just swallowed up. We’ve been told that all over the world it’s like that now.”
Is the Yin rising? At the moment I see only hectic activity everywhere I go in the city where I work. An excess of Yang, so to speak, the old Chinese would probably say, shaking his head.
Double Yin in Yin
Today is July 3rd, my mother’s birthday.
The sky is grey and lies heavy over the sea.
A triple Yin day. In China the father is male Yang, but a son is Yin in relation to the father. Then as my mother’s daughter today, I am certainly Yin Yin on the day of her birth. And that under an overcast Yin sky- the Yang has a hard time in summer.
I sit still and listen to the wind in the palm trees. A moment of deep joy, just like that.
I find small pink flowers on a lonely bush outside the house. The rain has thrown some into the sand. I pick them up and make a small shrine just for me alone. Shells with water on a flat stone with pink flowers.
The sun is breaking through. Big red spots waft on the light sand.
The crabs run apart when I pass by. Finally a little Yang again.
The Yang of the Blue Crab
I meet the big blue crab. I chase him, he runs zigzag, back and forth, light-footed, fast.
Then he gives up, stops, straightens up, tongs in the air. With his black button eyes he looks at me. I hold out a small pink shell, the big scissors close and he hangs on it. It is a brave little crab. His tactics seem wise to me: dodge as long as possible, and if necessary, attack.
I run towards the little seagulls so that they scatter. The wet sand reflects the white wings and the blue of the sky with the little white clouds.
Black frigate birds sail over a blue fishing boat lying on the beach. Men untangling nets.
The fish in the box stare at me with dead eyes. I buy two of them.
The Yin of the Game
Playing with the waves. Later I dress up all green and blue, like a mermaid.
On the way I find iridescent blue-green feathers from a hummingbird, which I stick in my hair.
I drink deep red cold wine and eat fish that I have scaled, gutted, and cooked myself. It tastes good to me.
For the first time I see the moon, narrow and crescent-sharp, before it sinks into the sea.
Today a gentle rain in the grey morning.
A large yellow-orange flower has fallen off and lies in the light sand, another one is blooming on the stem with heart-shaped green leaves. It is the only flower, the only spot of colour. A hummingbird is passing by.
The swallow family is calm as is the wind. The parents squat on the gutter, look into the rain, and don’t fly out.
I knock a hole in the coconut with my machete, it takes a long time until it works. I’m glad I only hack on the ground when I miss and not in the leg. Then I enjoy the milk. Life is simple.
The sun is golden showering me with light, low on the horizon it plays with the clouds. The wind is strong.
The moon is already a little higher today and greets me behind the dancing palm fronds.
Today, on Sunday, the sky presses down on the sea so that the tide never stops. Whenever I want to go out, the sea lurks just outside the fence, and the rain drenches me.
The swallows are silent.
An old skinny nag trots wearily past at dusk. He lowered his head. With every step he takes, he sinks deep into the sand.
My time here will soon be over.
Another new day. The sun is shining. Only a gentle breeze makes the palm leaves swing gently. A play of light and shadow. What a silvery sheen, where the sun’s rays shine directly on the leaves.
A swallow makes a crash landing and sits in the frame of the open kitchen door. It sits and looks and does not move. Is it one of the young? How do I get them back into the nest?
As I carefully go in, it flutters, rises and flies away as straight as an arrow, comes back and after the second approach, manages to sit on the bamboo pole under the roof. The other swallow is still in the nest, calling and screaming. The mummy does not react, feeds and surrounds the young nest runaway. She brings him a mosquito, and then she pushes him off the pole so that he flies another round.
The swallow in the nest is excited, flapping its wings, scolding, turning and turning, but does not yet dare to fly off. Mama rarely brings him a treat anymore.
The evening sun is showering me with golden light. The big blue crab is waiting for me in attack position with raised scissors, and attacks, jumping really high. My shadow is long, and the sun is already so deep that the white foam of the running waves casts frayed shadow lines.
Then it sinks into the sea. For the first time I’m not behind cloud banks since I have been here.
The sky glows orange, then dark red. The clouds have wave patterns like the wet sand, in front of them some dark cumulus clouds are sailing, left in the sky. And in the middle a wadded veil from another cloud layer. Oh, so many shades of red. The sea reflects the red on the moving water. Everything is wide and endless and wonderful. I can only hold out so much beauty for a short time- it is overwhelming. There my beloved announces itself, so much radiant Yang.
At the edge of the day kissing the night, there we will meet again.
The Yin Yang Day
Today is Friday.
The little swallows are doing flying exercises.
It looks really elegant, only when landing they get out of balance.
When mummy feeds, they flap their wings and squeak.
Nest squat, nest runner, nest messy- all words that fill up with new content.
The big blue-faced crab attacked again when I came by. He really jumps forward, with his scissors raised, before he runs off to the side.
My beloved is coming. I stand before the washing trough and wash the sheets by hand. Sweep the house.
I am glad.
A white horse trots by in the passage. Two children sit on it. One is wearing a black shirt, the other a white shirt.
Far behind, you can see a small light-coloured horse trotting alone through the palm trees. He has a long mane and his tail is proudly raised. A dream image has found its way into reality.
I take the boat across the strait into another world. Cars, restaurants, tourists.
We drive right back to my lonely little house, you and I, with luggage, and our sand-coloured dog Gina. She makes funny noises, whines, whimpers, yelps, squeaks, and screams as she jumps behind the car pulled by the mare in the sand behind us.
Yin Dances in the Yang
We sit on the terrace, look over the sea, smoke a cigar, and drink a drop of the good firewater. I am very quiet, nothing has actually happened. And my dearest one has experienced so much in the city.
Here we are again, woman and man, Ying and Yang, earth and fire, rain and sun.
When we unite, the sun shines diagonally into a glittering curtain of light rain. In front of the black cloud mass over the sea a rainbow greets us.
Iris Disse is a film, theatre and radio producer, author and lecturer in communication at festivals and universities. Since 1994 she has been commuting between Europe and Ecuador. Her radio plays and films have won several awards. She works closely with indigenous people from Latin America. In her international Yoga and cultural center in Ecuador, Durga’s Tiger School ® of Tantra, Yoga, Arts & Shamanism, one can train as a Yoga Alliance certified Yoga teacher all year round – from 30.6. to 22.7.2019. Trainings are also available at ZEGG near Berlin.