I wrote a haibun about ox some years ago. I was born in the year of ox so I was thrilled to see this ox statue in front of a bullring in Ronda.:
An ox after all
“If you lie down like that, you’re gonna become an ox for sure”, my nanny so cautioned me again after the meal. I was three or four years old then, and I had a habit of lying down on the tatami mat soon after the meal, flipping through a children’s picture book or two. My nanny was raised in a strict samurai family, thus knew all the refined manners. I guess that was what my parents thought and asked her to look after me.
Every time I heard her caution, I got scared and sat up right away. I had seen how the animal lived； in a near-by farm, there was an ox, always smelling badly, always munching something with saliva dripping from the mouth, never minding sleeping next to the dung. Yuck! I never want to become an ox.
With its swaying tail,
an ox shoos away
flies and a boy
As I got older, I learned that I had been born in the year of the ox, and became interested in my disposition, comparing with that of the ox. I learned also that the ox is a ruminant, which explains the constant munching. I came to like the dairy products, and longed for the treat of sukiyaki meal with juicy beef. The ox seems slow in motion and maybe in head as well. However, as in bullfighting, the animal makes quick but wise, and challenging moves. I made the similar move when I met a wife-to-be girl, though I am still unsure if I was as wise as the ox.
2009 is the year of the ox again, and is my fifth ox year, meaning I will be sixty when my birthday comes (12 zodiac signs x 5 = 60). I am thankful that I have made it through all these years. I contemplate my life thus far and my coming old age, just as the ox seems to do, standing still in a meadow, munching slowly. I am, however, still young enough to meet the new challenge, and I know I will make a quick and wise move ‘cause I am an ox after all.
Old ox -
I wonder where
the red muerte is
(muerte is the bullfighter’s red cape)