Saturday, March 14, 2009

Spring flowers, kites and heavenly trees

090313 ©Ingrid Booz Morejohn (Click on image to see in larger window!)

Friday afternoon the light was lovely and we spent a little time in the park that runs along Shenxianshu Nanlu, opposite Qinghua Fang. The magnolias inside Qinghua Fang were perfection this day and in the park peach blossoms of many different colors and hues were a welcome sight beside the row of weeping willows that line the canal skirting the park.

The name of this important thoroughfare that runs through a section of Chengdu has special significance. Shenxianshu means something like "Tree of the Heavenly Beings" (nanlu just means "South Road") and such a tree was thought to exist in the world of superstition and old tradition. The tree was a kind of "money tree" (qianshu) that have been found in Chinese graves for a few thousand years, but it had less to do with riches than acting as a pathfinder or bearer of the spirit or soul back to the Land of the Dead. I don't know why this particular road has this quite profound name, perhaps there was once a temple or graveyard located here?

The park itself is a favorite with kite flyers so we bought a simple one for 8 yuan and gave it a go. Most of the time we spent cursing each other and yelling instructions. We only succeeded in getting the kite in the air as long as we were running around like chickens with their heads cut off. The pros were of course the older gentlemen with fancy reels of robust string and decades of know-how. We did however succeed with one thing - not getting our kite stuck in a big, old tree that dominates the main square. This tree is a veritable graveyard for dead kites and perhaps in its own way a shenxianshu, carrying our happy memories of good times spent here back to the heavens above where our kites should be but never succeeded in reaching.

©Ingrid Booz Morejohn

Ett paket på änglavingar...

...anlände igår i form av mandelmassa. Underbara Susanna, en riktig ängel från Änglarnas stad Bangkok, förbarmade sig över oss stackars Chengdubor och  skickade ett nödpaket bakproviant, inklusive florsocker. Med en handskriven förmaning till kinesiska tullen att absolut inte röra eller ännu värre äta innehållet kom försändelsen oskadd fram. (Tydligen vet dem varken hur kokain eller anthraxpulver ser ut för hade jag bott i USA hade den aldrig sluppit igenom.) Så nu ska här bakas! Lite sent på året i och för sig men jag hade sett på Susannas mycket trevliga blog (om livet i Thailand, foto, fotografvärlden mm mm, besök den här) hur hon hade fixat med "marzipan" inköpt i Bangkok. Jag blev både sugen och avis direkt. En kommentar på hennes blogsida räckte för att ett paket skickades med detsamma. Det kallar jag en kompis! TACK! 

Och idag skiner solen med. Så kan det gå, upp och ner med livets små och stora händelser. Emy, ta fram bakskålen!

Tired and cold

Soaking up the heat from  a pan of burning coals, Prague Café, Lijiang, Yunnan ©Ingrid Booz Morejohn

The other day I was so tired and so cold that I sat on a stool under a hot shower and ate my breakfast of cornflakes, taking care not to dilute the cereal with water, only milk. I munched away with the bowl held slightly away from me, slowly crunching, crunching, staving off the sogginess by chewing purposefully and methodically. Steaming hot water pounded my head and eased the tension in my muscles and I floated dreamily away. I could have stayed there forever but when there was nothing left to eat I had to reconcile myself with returning to the cold world outside...Today started with a promise of warmth and sunshine. Here on the 13th floor the morning rays reached far into the apartment, only to be slowly pulled back into the shadows, little by little, inexorably greying my world and yet again laying that heavy blanket of depression with its many clever tricks and sneaky moves on my sanity. Please winter, go away.