The Tao of Nodeshell Rescue

Now as I've heard it, this quote is frequently attributed by writers to Lao Tzu's Tao Te Ching, and often quoted as "Learn to yield and be soft if you want to survive. Learn to bow and you will stand in your full height. To bend like a reed in the wind - that is the real strength," yet after piling through a dozen different translations of the work, including the one began in E2, I still can't find it which leads me to suspect it may be a self-propogating misquote.1 The closest thing apparent is :
Bend and be straight;
Empty and be full;
Wear out and be new;
Have little and gain;
Have much and be confused. (Tao Te Ching, XXII)

----- OR------

A man is born gentle and weak.
At his death he is hard and stiff.
Green plants are tender and filled with sap.
At their death they are withered and dry.
Therefore the stiff and unbending is the disciple of death.
The gentle and yielding is the disciple of life.
Thus an army without flexibility never wins a battle.
A tree that is unbending is easily broken.
The hard and strong will fall.
The soft and weak will overcome.(Tao Te Ching, LXXVI)

(...nodeshell rescue concluded...)
1 . Of course in David Lynch's film adaption of Frank Herbert's Dune, Paul Aetrides whispers this (which is weird, since Dune seems more infused with Islam than Taoism). Anyway, this is apparently where my younger brother heard it. I first heard him whisper it as he tossed me over his shoulder onto a pool table. I'd apparently messed up one of his shots. What that has do to with The Way, I'm not sure. Mercy brings victory in battle and strength in defense. It is the means by which heaven saves and guards.

There's one particular evening that sticks out in my mind, that will always be associated with this phrase. It was during the glory years of 160th, a sort of prenatal compound. If memory serves, it was during the time that dem_bones, robnotrob and I were all living there, although bones had stepped out for the evening. He had been replaced, in a fashion by thefez.

We had ingested of ourselves that evening, and had created a helluva fire in the back ten acres, underneath the tree that stood out alone in the middle of the field. The barn was about one hundred yards away. This is the same barn that also hosted the infamous lawnjart incident,so the area was...replete with memories.

The fire itself was probably one of the hottest that we'd made there - the largest was still the Great 1998 New Year's Fire. However, the fire was burning strong for probably the eight hours that we sat out there, and despite being hosed down three or four times that evening (Who can remember?), had to be hosed down two more times the following day.

I'm not sure that I remember much of the exact conversations. What I do remember was the perfect late summer night, the sky was mostly clear, with clouds moving rapidly across the sky, and a heavy moon sitting in the sky, like a hen on the egg of the world

We had terrible old chairs. dem_bones and I had acquired these chairs from our now former boss, and the print on the chairs looked like it had been rejected from the Brady Bunch set. That said, they were damn comfortable chairs to sit in for the hours we spent there.

The phrase "bend like the reed" was first said by thefez when two foreign elementals entered our mental landscape. plakke and one of the mutants peripherials ann had come over looking to partake of some gaseous substance that the house currently housed at the time.

What followed was probably one of the more uncomfortable settings between friends that I've been in. The three of us sat mute while the other two talked. I spent my time thinking that I must bend like the reed. Sage advice from thefez. They eventually went inside, and we went back to our prior conversation.

They eventually returned, and plakke spent a lot of time talking about Pink Floyd, as I recall. They left again, after we refused to say anything beyond the expected hellos.

All in all, a night well spent. That's the night that taught me one of life's most important lessons: Sometimes, there are times/people/events/places/ideas/things that cannot be dealt with hand on. Sometimes situations require tact, sometimes they require action, and sometimes...sometimes they require simply enduring and bending like the reed.

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