The Spring Festival begins…

by a. noelle

lunar new year soft light grass ephemera

With a quest for green. I grab my satchel, my scuffed up hiking boots, and let my feet wander through the nearby hills to secluded patches of soft sunlight and earth. The green fills up my lens, the rapid clicks of the shutter filling up the otherwise silent space, completing the moment. Here, snow never came to touch the surface, but a closer look reveals curious freckles of white…

lunar new year white butterfly daisies ephemera

There is movement among the daisies. Eyes focused, teeth clenched, my hands hold steady, waiting for the perfect moment to strike. I stalk the white butterfly through my lens as if it were my next meal. Laughing to myself, I think, My name should be Nian. (I was never a huge fan of the color red anyway.) Click, click, click… I know even before scanning through the viewfinder that I had just missed it. Summoning every ounce of determination in me, I crouch down low. Taking careful aim, I zoom in on my fluttering target as it settles down, ever so gracefully, within a gentle gathering of white daisies—back into the protective arms of the fold. The villagers had me fooled, I think with a sigh and move on.

lunar new year logs ephemera

When my feet complain about their worn-down soles, the woods are kind enough to offer me a seat and a sip from a man-made spring…

lunar new year modern day oasis ephemera

I look across the way at the lush green foliage and snap a few more shots. Really, I never want to leave.

lunar new year lush ephemera

I pull myself up and take in one more deep breath before continuing on to my next stop. It’s time to pay my respects.

lunar new year ram ephemera

When I arrive at the pen, all I get is a cold shoulder. You would think he’d be more gracious with his visitors, it being his year. Pausing for a moment, I consider whether his sour disposition stems from society’s failure to sort out the ram/sheep/goat trilemma. But he shouldn’t be concerned about where I stand, I glance over at him with a slight frown. I’d always been in favor of calling it the Year of the Ram. (I would never ever celebrate the Year of the Goat, but that’s another tale for someone else’s year.)

lunar new year charlie ram ephemera gif

It occurs to me that I might be able to appeal to my unwilling host with the help of an ally. Pulling Charlie (the sheep plushie) up by his forelegs, I hook my FEED bag around a post and wait. It seems to work—although I feel my nerves kick in when I see how close the ram is to snatching Charlie, the bag, and all its contents away from me! I wish the ram good health in the new year and quickly take my leave (and my Charlie).

lunar new year white cow ears ephemera

No visit to this little farm would be complete without stopping by to feed and pet the cows…

lunar new year white cow pet ephemera


Then the NightLife

lunar new year nl logo ephemera

Photo: @calacademy #CASNightLife
Moon Image © NASA

To complete this celebratory phase with lion dancers, red envelopes, and tea tastings courtesy of Fabula Tea. (I’ll be skipping over the live goat exhibit in the East Garden. #thanksnothanks) More than halfway through the lively lion dance performance, I feel a quick blow to the chest followed by a sharp pain. I’d just been smacked with a handful of tiny candies in red-colored wrappers. At least I didn’t get hit by the flying cabbage, I think to myself and silently hope the festive assault means I’ll have good luck this year.

lunar new year lion heads ephemera

lunar new year lions at rest words ephemera

lunar new year purple lion head ephemera

lunar new year enveloped words ephemera

lunar new year red envelope ephemera

lunar new year steeped in tradition words ephemera

lunar new year tea ceremony ephemera

lunar new year toast words ephemera

lunar new year aquarium ephemera

Moscow mule in hand, I toast to the fishes. The moon sets.

新年快乐

lunar new year ram divider ephemera

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