sometimes we cross a bridge and do not look back

crossing an old wooden bridgeSF Bay bridge2I always find Bridges fascinating. Each one encompasses three main phases of life: beginning, ending and in-between. Some bridges we cross for a temporary purpose and we cross back after we have fulfilled that purpose. Some bridges we cross but never intend to return. Some we cross at predictable regular intervals like the crossing is an extended part of one’s being. Some we just never cross. Perhaps we do not have the opportunity to do so in this life. Is there a bridge I must cross but with great reluctance and a sense of immense loss? Yes. I believe the bridge is called “Goodbye, my love.” (Somehow I suspect everyone who loves has a bridge by this name)

a transient Christmas eve in 2007

It was a Transient  moment in time in 2007 and we were in a tourist bus.a transcient mountain moment We were on a tour bus. The mountain seemed so near all of a sudden. So were you. I thought for a moment that time had stood still and we would never age, or that we would slowly grow old together taking our own time. We went to the usual tourist attractions. Good food, drinks, hot springs, gardens, night life in the cities etc. Why do I dig out this ten year old picture and try to recall the mountain today? After parting for so long? I have been pondering on a word lately . It is called, “lingering”, and it means “lasting for a long time and slow to end.” But sadly it does end in the end. Time sets a limit for phases of life, no matter our perception and determination to hold fast, and in reality its name is called, “transient”, which means lasting only for a short time, fleeting, passing, impermanent. Someone may say that a mountain is unlike a man. It will remain after the human travelers are gone. Yes, for a time. Yet, if you consider the real age of the creation you will agree that a mountain too has a limit in time. I still keep the pictures of you smiling and posing with the beautiful snowy mountain in the background. It was such a clear day. You looked so young and happy. Ten years. So soon. So transient. Today you told me in tears that you could not bear to have me vanishing from your life, living alone somewhere…Yes, we both need a miracle. We both believe in miracles. Memories are miracles. Like the lilac bedroom paint you liked so much, with the name “Forget-me-not”.

I admit that sometimes I cannot help but recall the lingering lyrics from a song by Garfunkel,

When the singer’s gone
Let the song go on…

But the ending always comes at last
Endings always come too fast
They come too fast, but they pass to slow
I love you, and that’s all I know

how fleeting is evanescence?

How short or fleeting is the time span of Evanescence ? Can anyone give a definition in exact measurement?

I encountered this question when visiting an old abandoned/transformed mining town. How short is short? We just cannot tell. For the miners who used to live there during boom time, some might have thought the precious ores would last a long time in their own life span. Others might have joined much later and perhaps sensed time ticking away and soon they would have to move on. They were not alone. History does not change much. Any man would know soon that we are not getting younger. Man’s glory fades with time as the source we consider precious (in this case, valuable ores) depletes.

I quote excerpts from Wikipedia: “Virginia City was the prototype for future frontier mining boom towns, with its industrialization and urbanization. It owed its success to the 1859 discovery of the Comstock Lode. After a year in existence, the boomtown had 42 saloons, 42 stores, 6 restaurants, 3 hotels, and 868 dwellings to house a town residency of 2,345. At its height in 1863, the town had 15,000 residents. The mines’ output declined after 1878, and the city itself declined as a result. As of the 2010 Census the population of Virginia City was about 855. Today, Virginia City is but a shadow of its former glory…”

For those interested in knowing more about the historical and mining background of the above photos, here are some links to wikipedia:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Virginia_City_Historic_District_(Virginia_City,_Nevada)
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comstock_Lode
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Virginia_City,_Nevada

taking root: the use of heritage

 Heritage I decide to share a few pictures of silver vessels from the heritage I came across recently. The owners passed on long ago and they left behind items which were kept in boxes for many decades. The items looked used but later possibly with the demise of the original masters (great grand parents) were packed up and stored away. No one seemed to notice their existence until I was led to dig them out of their dusty boxes. I brought them back to the heirs and they are not selling. As I mentioned in my previous post they are of value in terms of sentiments to those who inherit them. Although some individuals do not speak of their feelings, some do take grief seriously and for quite sometime. The man of the house passed away over a year ago and he left behind a very small family.

At first I thought they would rather sell off whatever old stuff they inherited as they had left home long ago and hardly returned. I even offered to get them restored to their original shine and was surprised when the new owners said they wanted to keep all.

I start pondering over the issue of root. We do not come from nowhere. We all have ancestors. Sometimes I wonder what they were like but most time I find it hard to even imagine their lives. Some families keep old photos and some keep old things. The things may or may not be of significant monetary value but they mean something to the descendants. And that meaning is very personal. Because they do not say why they decide to keep, I have not ventured to ask for a reason. No, I am not a nosy parker. I would like to know because I like to put pieces of history together so they form a complete picture like jigsaw puzzles. The whole piece of picture makes sense only when all the missing pieces are found and fit perfectly into the empty spaces which otherwise leave gapping holes. Once I spent half a year in a sibling’s house and witnessed the laborious way in which the whole family pooled their effort to identify the right spaces to fit the pieces which somehow seemed impossible to fit anywhere. Everyone who walked pass the puzzle tried to have a go at it in vain. Some pieces were dismantled and reassembled. Sometimes someone stayed up until the early hours staring at the pieces for inspiration. When the picture was finally completed they framed it up and celebrated the victory!

In a way we rely on disjointed pieces of old things to compile and preserve our own history. The root is never separated from the stems. Time is not really made of unconnected pieces. It’s just we cannot see the whole picture as each of us stands on a single spot at any one time on the time continuum. As we increase in our speed of life travel on this continuum we find it harder and harder to slow down and look back.

I like to think that this is why the millennials decide to keep something like old tea canisters or coffee cups made of comparatively more lasting matters, so that they can take a break at intervals on the very fast track. By the way, in UK I often have tea breaks and in US I have coffee breaks. In China? Both, these days.

Travel review 2014-2016 (15 random points)

The sound mind man’s rather personal three years’ travel in review in fifteen random realms as follows:blue-snow-gold

1. weather experienced: extreme heat (over 40 degrees C to extreme cold (thick snow on the way) but blessed with moderate weather mostly.
2. ocean: Pacific from end to end.
3. work: two medium size books completed.
4. natural hair color: turned mysteriously from dark to medium and now light brown with specks of gold(?) (LOL).
5. eye sight: complete change of lens inside. now 20/20.
6. belief: Christian.
7. computers: one Dell crashed (physically) on arrival in backwater place; now e and q and caps lock on the left side of keyboard refuse to behave. purchased one Samsung as backup for USD100. Finally I received a gift of a 2016 MacBook Pro!
7. cell phone: received a gift of a good-as-new Samsung Note III (?).
8. geography: from drought and flood-prone land-locked flat land at sea level or below (?) to mountains of an altitude of 8000ft.
9. blogs: tried new ways and perspectives in different blogs. not enough time to do better. LOL. Just maintaining from time to time hopefully for various reader-interest groups.
10. photography: second to writing. some monotony sets in. Alas.
11. relationship: nothing to declare.
12. 2017 assignment: continues to be stuck to the computer(s) and various related technological tools now for at least another year doing translation.
13. hobbies: basically i like writing fictions and non-fictions (memoirs) and thinking about life (in different realms). interest in both art and science. a generalist. Multitasks practitioner.
14. travel class: only as appropriate. economy. But not as courageous as backpackers.
15. love: faithfulness and compassion. 

2017 resolution: Be the one who finds the gold. Be Resilient .

find-the-gold

photo credits:
the blue snow picture was taken by the other dear lone traveler using her cell phone.
the other picture was also sent to me by her (uncredited)

another shore beyond

new-horizonNew Horizon Of course this horizon is familiar to many. It is at the Monterey Bay Aquarium. I took this picture outside looking at the blue beyond. There were few visitors outside that day at that time. One friendly oriental couple with a young child were around taking photos like me. It was a sunny day. I was alone. The others had gone somewhere else as they had visited this place before. I saw some gulls. A sailing boat at the distant horizon. I decided to present this blue horizon with hope. At the same time I also add a sunset horizon at the coast of San Francisco.

Meng Haoran 孟浩然, a Chinese poet who lived from AD689 or 691 to AD740, wrote a poem about the horizon. I quote below the poem and my attempted translation.
早寒有懷
木落雁南渡,
北風江上寒.
我家襄水曲,
遙隔楚雲端.
鄉淚客中盡,
孤帆天際看.
迷津欲有問,
平海夕漫漫.

My translation below~~~~
“The Winter comes too early to my heart”
Amidst falling leaves the geese fly south
over water chilled by a cold wind north
my distant home is up this river bend
in the Chu mountain’s cloud it hides
as my journey ends some tears are shed
Folks at home are yearning for this lone horizon sail
for I seem to have lost my way, my quest
while the sea remains as calm as the vast night veil

another-shore-beyond