365 Days for Travelers: Oct 10

SIX NOTES ABOUT LIFE (EXCERPT)

There are countless mundane affairs, yet so little
time; so why get involved in all this hustle and
bustle? We busy ourselves with life, competing and
comparing endlessly, yet no one tells us that fame or
dishonor is limited, and that success or failure is
hard to measure. Look! The autumn wind blows over
the luxurious gardens of the fallen rich, and the
darkness that falls over the Wu River*, the bleak
Epang Palace, and the desolate Tongque Tower.
Name and glory are but dew on a flower; riches
and fame are just frost on a grass’ tail.

Seeing through that ploy, forgetting all troubles,
what of the royal palaces is there to praise for, or the
shackles of profit and fame? Upon the moment of
leisure and quietude, let us indulge in wine and
poetry, singing the lyrics of “It’s Not Too late to
Return” and the tune of “The Vast Sea.” On proper
occasions, let us invite a few intimate friends, either
to the wilderness besides the creeks, play the zither
to your heart’s content, let your pains flow away
along the bends of the river, speak of good causes
and retributions, or discuss the rises and falls
throughout past and modern times. Or we can
appreciate brocades of beauty atop flower stems,
and listen to the melodious chirping of the birds.

* Xiangyu was a renowned commander-in-chief
during the time of the Three Kingdoms, who
valiantly died while fighting vastly outnumbered.