Time seems to equate itself in three week chunks here. I take things minute by minute. I forgot how much movement this place is. My eyes are often tired and the garish noise of the city is no longer foreign. The silence in the static is gone. It is loud noise, sensory overload. I can understand 30-40% of what is being said around me. Words are at-the-ready for me to use. The world keeps giving me things to consider. I continue to grow. But, there is no silence here, no quiet moments. I miss this about New Mexico. The silence of stillness.
A walk with soft-focused eyes seems to be the only reprieve from all the now non-foreignness of everything. And so, yesterday I walked for hours – slowly and mindfully. I think it best to let your body speak to you about the movement of feet on pavement. What parts of my sole hits the Earth? What weight can I give and what does the ground want to take? As I walked the other day, I was recalling and holding all these old feelings, creations of me, of home, of being in a place with a person. To be singular and alone in a big, clustered city like Guangzhou. I am here. I came back to myself. I keep coming back to light and water – having and not having, possessing and surrendering.
I walked around the oldest part of town – Liwan District, Ximenkou to Yide Lu. It is subdued there, quiet like an echo, and so old that you can smell the damp infecting the buildings. The smell of those cigarettes, Shaungxi, meaning double happiness, the ones I bought you, they have a particular smell, and it dresses the buildings and the streets like peeling wallpaper, golden-orange adhesive exposed. The sidewalks are covered in moss and the buildings have fused with the growth. Trees and vines hole up the spaces where brick and cement have turned to rubble. People still live in these places, and these homes are hidden from the main streets. You’ll pass these big keyhole type of entrances that offer paths to these secret streets, like a dogs tongue unrolled and panting. These streets are but a blink, they seem to appear and disappear as quickly as the bicycles whizz by in your periphery.
I often wonder what ghosts linger at the thresholds. Is it death or the past that twinkles and bleats in the foggy, gray distance as I walk by?