Sunday, November 28, 2010

Line by Line - Verse 15, Line 5

Shrinking looked they like those who wade through a stream in winter;
~ James Legge translation, from The Sacred Books of the East, 1891 ~

Watchful, like men crossing a winter stream.
~ Gia-fu Feng and Jane English translation, published by Vintage Books, 1989 ~

Hesitant, like crossing a wintry river
~ Derek Lin translation, from Tao Te Ching: Annotated & Explained, published by SkyLight Paths, 2006 ~

They were careful, like a man walking on thin ice.
~ Ron Hogan rendition, from, 2004 ~
Have you ever tried to cross a fast moving stream? The water surges against your legs, trying to pull you into the current. Your feet slip and slide on the rocks rubbed smooth by the water and time. One false move or misstep and you can easily tumble.

Falling into a stream on a warm summer's day is one thing, but falling into an icy river during winter can be life threatening. Even if you are able to right yourself, if there is no shelter or fire nearby, you run the risk of hypothermia!

So, the person who must ford an icy stream takes great care in what they are doing. The individual understands the inherent risks involved and takes the necessary measures to ensure she makes it safely to the other side.

To view the Index page for this series to see what you may have missed or would like to read again, go here.

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