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This past weekend we had a mini ice storm in the mountains of western Maine where I live. My dog and cat snuggled by the fire as I worked on “Wetland Breaking News” and a Water Resources Protection Ordinance draft.

As ice crackled in the trees, I listened to Prairie Home Companion, broadcast from New York City, on the radio. Garrison Keillor relayed the News from Lake Wobegon, including a climate change skeptic’s love story that was really charming. I find climate change skepticism akin to astrological skepticism – as astrology is based on science, the same physics used in astronomy, according to my astronomy professor at St. Lawrence University. I try to avoid arguments with people who are skeptical of climate change…or astrology for that matter. In looking back, I found the predictions for the Chinese “Water Dam” year uncanny in their relevance to what we’ve seen for natural disasters this year in the U.S.

Last winter in a February Strange Wetlands blog post, I wrote about 2012 as the “Black Water Dragon” or “Water Dam” year in the Chinese calendar. Astrologers predicted a focus on dams, water, levees and floodplains management, under a strong stormy and dark water influence, including a storm or heavy flooding event in late 2012. Water problems, including dramatic changes in water levels, were also predicted for the “Water Dam” year. In a recent Compleat Wetlander post, my boss, Jeanne, noted that the last time the Mississippi River levels were at a record low was 1940, also a dragon year. The last time we had a “water dragon” year was 60 years ago, when my mother was born in 1952, a year when all of the named storms attained “hurricane” status. Among the six hurricanes that year, Hurricane Fox (Oct. 20-28, 1952) a Category 4, killed 40 people and wrought $10 million in damages (that’s in 1952; in 2012 that would be equivalent to $87.5 million in damages). It was one of the strongest hurricanes to hit the U.S. …until this most recent hybrid storm, Sandy, in October 2012.

At my job at ASWM, I’ve been responsible for developing content for the Climate Change resources section of the aswm.org website. In response to Hurricane Sandy, I post news, analyses and reports related to the storm and her impact on wetlands, as well as the relationship between hurricanes and wetlands on a new section of the website. See Hurricane Sandy news here.  If you’re looking for information on particular sea level rise tools, pilot studies and storm surge analysis, visit ASWM’s Sea Level Rise page that I put together.  There are some really terrific storm surge and sea level rise tools!

It’s the Year of the Black Water Dragon, nicknamed the year of the “Water Dam” because of the strong water influence. I blogged about the symbolism of the black water dragon on my Strange Wetlands blog. We last had a water dragon year 60 years ago in 1952, the year my parents were born, two of the most intense people I know. Water dragon years—and the people born during those years—are stormy. I have affectionately referred to my mother as “StormCenter” because she often calls me with the weather forecast for a blizzard, a hurricane or even—heavy rains—in case I am not aware of the prevailing precipitation and its possible impact on my life. By contrast, my father taught me how to build a lean-to for shelter if I ever got caught in the woods overnight during a rainstorm; I was seven. It seemed that both my parents were ever-concerned with storms and protecting us from them. My mother is often asking if I need a new raincoat, even though I have 3 or 4 varieties—the pauncho, the full-bodied rain jacket and pants suit, the rain trench, a waterproof windbreaker—and recently said she’d like to give me a “pretty raincoat” from Coldwater Creek for my birthday.  I think I’m going to ask for a pair of Bogs, the funky waterproof boots, instead of a fifth raincoat.

In Chinese astrology, the dragon is considered the luckiest animal sign in the zodiac. A closely related animal sign in the Chinese zodiac is the snake.  I was born the year of the fire snake, and the snake is considered a form of dragon that is limited to the ground. (Snake is called “little dragon.”) True dragons can fly (or swim) and the Chinese snake is land-based. According to Chinese astrologers, 2012—the year of the Black Water Dragon, is also the Year of the Lonely Snake. It seems that in water dragon years, those born during snake years are more independent, spend more time alone and may be less likely to begin a new romantic relationship if they are currently single at the start of the year, which began in late January. This also means that as a “Snake” person, I will play a more supportive role to “Dragons,” like my mother, and I’m already anticipating this. This year is “All About Dragons.” It’s the new “all about me.”

Supposedly, female “Snake” year people, tend to feel more lonely than other members of the animal zodiac. I’ve never identified myself as “lonely” –more likely to say, “alone but not lonely,” or “independent” and “living on my own.” As an extrovert, this is sometimes hard, as I gain a lot by being around the energy of others, but I also relish my alone time. Sure, I’m single, but have been pretty happy-go-lucky living in my house with my rescue dog and concentrating on my career and writing projects. No bluesy anti-Valentine’s day moping for this gal. (I’m even making homemade Valentines.) In other words, I propose that instead of the Lonely Snake Year, we think of this as the Year of the Lone Snake, like a lone ranger, or superhero, saving wetlands and solving (shedding?) little problems here and there, supporting friends and family, especially dragons.

The Black Water Dragon year contains the elements of earth, water and wood. If your “lucky element” is one of those, then you’ll have a lucky year in 2012. In my case, my lucky element is earth (even though I’m a fire snake), so I may look forward to good luck during the change of seasons. (This is sort of a grey area for Maine, which has muddy hard-to-tell what’s going on in-between seasons.) Since my “day master” is the metal pig (based on my birthday), then in 2012 my outlook and expression will relate to the public – performance, speech, behavior, writing, freedom and fame. My social life may increase and people might talk about me (or my writing). And again, it will be a year that somehow ties me to my parents and their support of me, or my support for them because Dragon years contain the element of earth.

Getting even more specific, 2012 is a male water dragon year (as opposed to a female water dragon). My birth month (Feb.) in the year I was born was a male water month and the color, black – same as this year – male water and black. This is apparently favorable because I’m a female red fire snake – a good contrast indicating good social relationships with the opposite gender. (Yin and yang.) Well, that’s something.  

Leah

Poet. Artist. Ecoheroine. Human ecologist. Spiritual mermaid and Mystic. I write about literary ecology, wetlands, water, Romantic ecology, and quirky adventures with my dog.

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