I mentioned a while ago that I’m working on a research project with a village in the Chinese countryside; it’s something I’m trying to get started in a personal capacity, although perhaps my employers may get involved. Anyway, a couple of weekends ago, I was invited to attend a wedding; the daughter of our local contact was getting married to a man from a neighbouring village. It was a great weekend! The Siberian and I no longer being together, I invited a good friend, S, to come with me. S was introduced to me by Dragoncache; we dated for a while last year and, although it didn’t work out, we’re still friends. She’s someone I can really look up to – highly qualified in TCM, an excellent martial artist, and very entrepreneurial.
Anyhow, we enjoyed the first evening’s dinner but, as things wound down and the wedding party split up into small groups and discussions, S and I slipped out and went for a late-night walk around the village. There was no street-lighting, and so the place was in total darkness. However, there was a lot of cloud, and the reflected light from the nearest city, an hour’s drive away, was enough for us to see. The air, after Beijing, was wonderful – fresh, clean, and laden with the scent of the wild herbs that grow abundantly in the mountains above the village. We walked to the village gate – there’s only one road connecting the village to the outside world – and stood for a while, absorbing the qi. I found myself orienting to the north, connecting with the hills, feeling the power from their roots, and the ridgelines against the sky. S turned south; the road out is ruler straight, flanked by long lines of poplars, whose leaves whispered and tinkled in a light breeze. S found a connection with those, and was refreshed by their energy.
I’ll have more to say about S in another post, but it strikes me that nature is incredibly important to me. As I wrote before, in Wales i would be out in the hills every weekend. Even in Singapore, I lived next to the sea, and there were patches of jungle, and parkland, literally on my doorstep. It’s just occurred to me that the malaise that I’ve been feeling since I arrived in Beijing may be connected to the fact that for the first time in years I don’t live near easily accessible nature…
Anyway, here are some photos of the village, to give you an idea of what I mean: