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Peace of the Morning

Posted on Mon Aug 20th, 2018 @ 10:53pm by Lieutenant Meilin Jiang & Lieutenant JG Devin Ward

Mission: Preflight
Location: Arboretum
Timeline: MD 70; 0700

Nothing was better to keep the restless energy at bay then going to where some natural trees and flowers where. Devin had spent about ten minutes just enjoying the sight and smelling the flowers now though, she sighed softly as she sat up high in branches of a cherry blossom tree.

It was quiet and peaceful.

Right up until she sneezed, "AAACHOO!" The power of her own irritated nose made her eyes water and her sides to hurt for an instant before the surprise passed. She wrinkled her nose as it tickled again followed by another, "AAACHOO!" Great she had pollen allergies again! Devin leaned against the tree trunk her eyes watering and sides stinging slightly. Great way to start the day.....

"Are you well?" called out a soft voice from near the babbling brook.

Devin climbed down from her perch on the bloom tree branch and followed the voice back to the source and gave a cheeky grin.

Meilin arose from her meditative position and looked down at Devin -- one of the few people on board to whom she could do so. "There are a few qigong exercises which may alleviate your suffering."

"I think I got pollen up my nose from smelling the flowers when I came in. Happens sometimes. How are you this morning?" Devin did plenty of different exercises but she was curious about what Meilin meant.

"I am well." Meilin smiled pleasantly. "My morning meditation allows me to abide in stillness throughout the rest of the day. If you would like to learn a trick to avoid sneezing, though, I would be happy to show you."

Devin smiled and raised her eyebrows slightly, "Avoid sneezing? I was always told sneezing was good for getting rid of what irritated the body and to hold in a sneeze could hurt you."

Rather than correct the objection, Meilin adopted a relaxed state and placed her hands near her face. One was over her forehead, the other beneath her nose. "Do as I do," she said. With the fingers of one hand pressed against her forehead, she trailed two fingers of her other hand from her nose, down her chin, and along her midsection to her navel. "Hover but do not touch," she said. "And repeat after me: 'Autoimmune response. Autoimmune response. Autoimmune response.'"

Eyes closed, Meilin performed that very combination of speech and actions so fluidly that it became trance-like.

Devin smiled and watched a moment but shook her head softly, "I believe in a lot of things but I don't see how that exercise helps I might try it later but for now, I was thinking of getting some breakfast, would you care to join me." she did not want to upset the Chief of Security and especially since she and Anjar had to work with security on the ship.

"Perhaps once I have finished my morning regimen." Meilin slowly but smoothly dropped from the stance and resumed her normal posture while she spoke. "Stillness allows our bodies to take their natural course. All it needs is a little push. Sneezing, seizures, and strokes are the result of forcing the body to work against itself in an emergency setting. Simple, effortless measures can overpower and prevent powerful, drastic ones."

Meilin began her clearing exercise, beginning with the crown of her head. Her hands smoothed her hair, neck, and arms clear down to her feet. Toes pointed in the air, she ended with sharp pushing motions down into her heel.

"Excess qi can have adverse effects. Best to be rid of it rather than allowing it to linger."

Most humans had long forgotten the ancient mystic arts of the past. In Meilin's view, what was the point of exploring the stars if one forgot where they came from? Of course, so few believed in the old ways...

"The last thing I do every morning is check on my project," Meilin said to Devin. "Would you like to assist me? Then we could take the breakfast you mentioned."

Devin had watched Meilin curiosity clear on her face even as she gave the taller woman a cheeky smile, she had plenty of energy to burn and a lot of it went with her nature, she had only shifted briefly within her own quarters thus far. "i love helping with projects just tell me what you want me to do."

As it was agreed, Meilin led the way to the rear of the Arboretum in silent serenity. Words were unnecessary now, and so they were left unsaid. After a moment's passing through the orchards filled with the artificial breeze blowing through them, they arrived at a small utility shed.

Meilin paused a moment to bow her head. "I am grateful for my strength." She opened the shed door to reveal some pruning instruments. "The presence of harmful beings will draw fierce allies to aid me," she intoned.

Taking up some shears, a hacksaw, and a lopper, Meilin finally turned back to Devin. "There is a pollard tree near the middle of the arboretum that I have cut down to the heartwood in order to give life to a cutting. Although beautiful, the pollard tree was fruitless and dying. My prayer is that with my ministrations, it will be reborn."

Devin blinked and then nodded slightly, "cutting away the diseased part of the tree to allow regrowth. I have seen others doing that but never done so myself never wanted to make it worse." She said lightly as she followed Meilin. Very versatile was the Chief of Security it seemed.

"I used to tend the gardens in the monastery where I was raised," Meilin said. Her steps had become measured and fluid, almost as if she were on the verge of dancing. "Most people considered the Taoist enclave to merely be a tourist attraction, like much of old Hong Kong, but the enclave has stood fast for over 300 years -- not long after the end of the third world war."

As they reached the tree, the trampled grass and undergrowth showed where Meilin had tirelessly worked day after day. “The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”

Devin wasn't sure if she was supposed to comment in return to he philosophical comment it was a well known quote though. She followed Meilin quietly and watched to see were exactly she could help in saving the tree.

Following her usual routine, Meilin knelt down and gently cut away the remnant bark. "The heartwood is technically dead," Meilin explained as she cut toward the middle. "But it serves as the backbone and foundation for the tree. The outer edge is alive, but it requires the passing of the layers which came before it in order to grow."

Meilin handed the snips to Devin to cut away the shoots that were springing out from the stump in order to keep the growth vertical. "Offshoots will try to spring out, but they will never sustain growth. The key is to keep the new cutting placed in the middle of the heartwood strong."

Devin nodded as she carefully made cuts removing the side growth she hadn't done this type of thing in years, her movements were very slowly calculated until she found the right rhythem. After a few moments she looked at Meilin, "Does this look about right?"

As Devin tended to the tree, Meilin smiled. "This is wu wei--matching intent to fit the action. In this way, the tree will not devour itself, or falter from unsustainable growth."

Devin nodded it made plenty of sense she just hoped she wasn't making too many mistakes in her attempt to help Meilin with this obviously time long project of Meilin's.

"Very good." Meilin broke apart the culling and scattered it around the base of the stump. "Now we water." She handed Devin the watering can and pointed to the babbling brook nearby.

Devin laughed and went to fetch the water, she dipped the watering can into the brook carefully dragging it along the surface until it was nearly filled. Once she had done that Devin walked back to Meilin and the tree with the water can, she managed to not spill any, though she had not over filled it for a reason.

"Thank you for your assistance," Meilin said, perhaps more out of etiquette than anything. "The arboretum is my sanctuary, but I would welcome you to join me in the future." She smiled faintly as she added, "Whether for meditation, fellowship, or more pruning."

Devin nodded, "I might take you up on that offer but for now, I definitely want to go get some breakfast will you join me or do you have other plans?" She was curious but she wouldn't press too much right now.

The corners of Meilin's mouth pinched in the faintest of smiles. "I do not have other plans. Please lead the way."

Devin lead the way out the Arboretum, down the corridor, the lift ride then short walk to the lounge ended with a table and breakfast. Hers was a plate of chocolate chip pancakes, with maple syrup, topped off with strawberries, bananas and whipped cream. A glass of milk was the end point of her breakfast.

For her meal, Meilin enjoyed a small bowl of congee lightly garnished with egg and mixed vegetables. Though the mealtime conversation was light and casual, Meilin found peace in the other woman's company. After quarreling with the former CIO for several weeks, it was good to find harmony once more.


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