Mountains crowded with trees- their leaves rustling on the edges of winding roads that loop back and forth across our map like they were drawn by somebody with a slightly skewed sense of how, exactly, to get from point A to B. Continue reading →
I had a friend in college that just couldn’t understand why anyone would want to live on the east coast. She was from California, and we were busy expanding our minds in New England at the time. I clearly remember her saying: “there are too many old buildings. It creeps me out.” I had never thought about history manifesting in that way before. I guess she kind of had a point, but Continue reading →
I grew up in a small town in a valley between a river and a plateau on the outskirts of the Adirondack park. As a teenager I did my best to rebel against the confines of the village limits. We all know that in retrospect, almost everything seems better, but damn- I swear that it was idyllic- it was the stuff of all the best scenes of all the great coming of age movies combined. Continue reading →
Flavours collect like memories. They are powerful conjurors that dance on the lips and the tip of the tongue. I am an amalgamation of everything I have ever eaten. A stew. A mélange. Continue reading →
This is what January feels like in the Philippines, I thought, as our boat motored across a perfect expanse of blue toward the little island of Cabilao. The January place we had just left with its grey and ice and bundled clothing literally melted away.
Blue sky, blue water, warm skin, a thousand dancing diamonds stretched out before me. Continue reading →
It is hard to believe that it has been a whole 2 years since our toes first touched down on the Korean peninsula. In that strange and mysterious way that time has of expanding and contracting it has felt simultaneously much longer, yet somehow contained in the blink of an eye. I love those beginning days in a new place when Continue reading →
Thirty six strange peaks,
Immortals with black top knots.
Morning sun strikes the tree tops,
Here in this sky mountain world.
Chinese people, raise your faces!
For a thousand years cranes come and go.
Far off I spy a firewood gatherer,
Plucking sticks from stone crevices.
-Li Bai “Dawn Vista On Huangshan”
There are some places in the world that just seem to inspire gushing wellsprings of poetry. Metaphors woven together to create tapestries that reveal glimpses of those inner workings that lie just below the surface. Meaning layered upon meaning until everything is saturated and more than the sum of its parts. Huangshan in China’s Anhui region is one of those places. Continue reading →
A wall of gold has been mounted on Shu brocade.
Craftsmen from Wu collect spare change
To pay tribute to the abundance of a myriad of families.
The watchtowers of the city rise to great heights.
The bustling scene is truly impressive.
It is a chance to explore vestiges of bygone days.
-excerpt from a poem on the Qing Dynasty remake of Qīngmíng Shànghé Tú
It all started with a wooden table in an alley: square, unadorned, pressed up against a cement wall. It wobbled a bit on the uneven cobbles.
Somewhere nearby, a game of mahjong- the soft clinking of tiles echoed faintly on the evening air. Wisps of a forgotten dream, sounds from another time. I imagined the room where they played. Dark, smoky. Fingers twisted with age shuffling, shuffling, shuffling. The worn bone and bamboo whispers as it slides between mysterious symbolism and a poetry of deeper meaning. Through all that is lost and everything that is gained, what will be revealed? Plum blossom, peacock, white tiger, sword. Continue reading →