Reflections on a Wandering Life.....

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Grassland Above the Canyon 

Granted that the majority are able at last either to own or hire the modern house with all it's improvements. While civilization has been improving our houses, it has not equally improved the men who are to inhabit them. It has created palaces, but it was not so easy to create noblemen and kings. And if the civilized man's pursuits are no worthier than the savage's, if he is employed the greater part of his life in obtaining gross necessaries and comforts merely, why should he have a greater dwelling than the former.
If you recognize where that comes from, you know I am reading Walden again. I forgot one of my books at Vera's place in Kaixian. It was a book called, Everyman's Talmud that I picked up at a thrift store in Seattle. I try not to carry too many books with me in the summer, because books are heavy. So when I lost that one, I decided to visit a book store in Lanzhou and see if I could find something else. I do have Thucydides' History of the Peloponnesian War, but it's not going well. I still haven't made sense of it yet.

I met a couple photographers from Beijing who were hiking in the canyon. They showed me a trail going up the canyon wall on to the grassland. Really pretty. On the way, we met a Tibetan lady that one of the photographers had photographed several years earlier. This lady looked like she was in her forties, but she still spoke amazingly good Mandarin. She helped us find the way back down to Langmusi that would keep us free of the dogs. Lots of folks in Langmusi don't keep their dogs tied, and it creates real problems when you are hiking. I just try to stay completely away from residential areas.

It's cold in these here hills. I should have brought a pair of long johns. I mean for the night time. It's really nice during the day, especially if the sun is out. But in the evening, it can get really chilly. There is a coal stove in the sitting room at the youth hostel, so it's cozy there, but walking outside can be a bit of a shiver. I have the magic jacket I got from Melissa years ago, so I won't freeze, but I should have some other stuff with me. Packing in the sweltering heat of Beijing it's easy to forget how cold it can get at night in the mountains. But again, the daytime is really nice. I do like the mountains in summer.

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