The soft wash of cars driving over pavement is the river of a city, and as I lay awake it comforts me. The buildings rising improbably against the night are the tall forests of our city, and they surround us like a canopy. The lights strung and dotted in the darkness are the beating souls of a city, and their endlessness is also comforting. I may not know you but I see your light. And they may not know it yet, but together, this a different form of being.
Last week I was in Beijing. Forget what you know about China, no one knows anything about China. I was there for 4 days, two of the days were sunny and bright, one of the days had a deathly level of dust – borne in by Gobi desert sandstorms – and one of the days was just hazy.
On the ride in from the airport, I could see the wind. The roads were lined with trees whose names I do not know, but were bright green overleaf, and underside, were a more muted yellow-green. The wind fluttered the leaves, making them shimmer like pinpricks of light dancing in the water, like thousands of glittery tassels glued on a dancer’s dress, like the back of a serpent weaving its way into the trees, tossed this way and that as the branches bent under its weight.
Then, near the hotel where I was staying, the wind blew off snow-white clumps of seeds from the willows that lined the street, making it look like it was occasionally snowing. Like one or two snowflakes had made their way from the upper reaches of the Arctic and gently flit in, despite the sunshine, despite the wind, despite the distance, to be borne by a miraculous puff of wind, to land on the table where I was sitting, inside.
I’ve resolved to return to my roots and be grateful, every day.