Reflections on a Wandering Life.....

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

First Flowers 

The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation. What is called resignation is confirmed desperation. From the desperate city you go into the desperate country, and have to console yourself with the bravery of minks and muskrats. A stereotyped but unconscious despair is concealed even under what are called the games and amusements of mankind. --Walden

The first flowers of Spring are starting to appear on the mountain, now. I saw the first wisps of them about a week ago. Spring is here; how quickly the winter passes! Perhaps I should say, "how quickly the seasons pass from one to the other, becoming years and decades." Spring is a beautiful time in Beijing. Actually, I don't mind the winter at all, but I would have to admit that it does look a little scrubbier than fall or spring.

But Spring brings more than just flowers. Construction. And ever present reminder that the city is slowly pushing its way to the hinterland. It will take awhile; this is a big area. And as it begins to happen, I guess a person just has to move further out to stay ahead of it.

I have decided to stay away from this place on Saturdays. I was here last weekend, and it was incredible. Masses of people, kids with boom boxes, all somehow addicted to the noise of the city and afraid of silence. That statement may be a little too broad. I have met lone hikers on the trail. But it doesn't happen on weekends. But what can we say? Many people come here on weekends because that is the only time they are free. That, of course, does not explain the boom boxes. I do think there is a slow, subtle, insidious sickness that takes over the minds of people who live their whole lives in modern society. The breeze blowing through trees, the blackbirds calling from their lofty perches, a small animal running through the woods--all sounds these city folks have never heard, even though they have been here to these hills several times. It's as if they are terrified at prospect of being left alone with their thoughts.

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