It captured my breath as soon as Sophie and I left the apartment for our walk tonight — the brilliant moon gently blanketed with wispy clouds. I was compelled to capture this moon because I have hundreds of images of the blank moon in the naked sky. This scene presented a different image, a different perspective.
I cut our walk short, hustled Sophie back inside, grabbed the tripod from the back of my car, got the camera, changed lenses, and rushed outside to get the priceless shot.
The clouds were gone, leaving the glowing blue moon in charge of the dark sky. I didn’t get the shot.
I got to thinking that sometimes feelings are like those fleeting clouds. I can feel wonderfully joyous one moment, and then, without warning, an event, a word, or a thought whisks the feeling aside. On the other hand, the cloudy sad feeling disperses with a kind word or a gentle smile.
Oh, by the way, it’s a Blue Moon tonight, the last one until July, 2015. (A Blue Moon is the second full moon in same month.)
i carry your heart with me(i carry it in
my heart)i am never without it(anywhere
i go you go,my dear; and whatever is done
by only me is your doing,my darling)
i fear no fate(for you are my fate,my sweet)i want
no world(for beautiful you are my world,my true)
and it’s you are whatever a moon has always meant
and whatever a sun will always sing is you
here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life;which grows
higher than the soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that’s keeping the stars apart
i carry your heart(i carry it in my heart)
- e. e. cummings
When we were walking after dinner one evening, we came upon this small street that seems out of place amidst the new construction in Feicheng. The street reminds me, in part, of the Hutong Area in Beijing.
At first I thought that many of the apartments were empty, but I’m not so sure. An old woman who came out of one of the doors eyed us suspiciously and returned to her home behind the wall. Oh I wanted her picture, yet felt as if I would be imposing.
I wonder if these homes will remain or if they will fall in the path of progress and high-rise apartment buildings. Why allow 20 families to live in a space that could house 200 or more?
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It seems that this tattered door with peeling paint leads into people’s lives. Do you see the mail boxes? Someone must be living here. Who?
Are they as worn as the door? As broken as the door knob?
Does the door hide a lonely woman who is waiting for her son to call? Does an old man check the rusted mailbox each day, hoping for a letter from his daughter? Does it lead to an apartment filled with a happy, noisy family? Does it open to an artist pouring his soul into his music?
Does the door open to lives of despair…or hope?
Recently I posted some images I’d taken in Shanghai of a young woman and her little dog (I want their dog training tips), commenting that I’d seen dogs off leash in both of the cities where I’d spent considerable time this summer.
A few weeks ago, during a terribly lonely Saturday night, I searched the Internet for Cocker Spaniel breeders and perused Craigslist for “used dogs.” The next day, this little beauty was living with me.
She’s so easy-going and well-trained that I tried something: I let her off leash when we went on one of our twice daily walks. SHE STAYED RIGHT WITH ME!
She watches me, and if I lag behind she turns around to meet me.
I am lucky to have found this sweet little companion.
Old Shanghai is a Disney-esque maze of shops with Ancient Chinese architectural facades. It’s a cacophony of bright colors, exotic and familiar tastes, enticing aromas, glaring sounds, inexpensive (cheap) gifts for the family back home, and high quality merchandise.
I was looking for black pearl earrings to match the necklace I’d bought at the Summer Palace in Beijing last summer. I soon learned that the casual perusal of the jewelry counters was anything but casual. The pretty young women were ready with their calculators, offering one gem after another.
I decided that the one gift I wanted for myself would be wind chimes.
Thanks to a group of tourists from Germany, I found help from a nice woman who volunteers as a sort of guide in Old Shanghai. I breathed a deep sigh to find someone who understood me and could communicate with me.
She directed me across the street, into the gritty markets.
I admit that I was just a bit apprehensive because I was alone and obviously a tourist…my appearance screaming white senior citizen.
I kept my bag and camera close to my side as I pretended to know what I was doing. (Possibly my concerns were unnecessary.)
I walked up and down several streets, asking in one shop after another. A few shops sold wind chimes, but they were huge and absurdly expensive…the kind you’d hang in a Buddhist Temple, I thought.
Finally, just as the light mist turned to serious rain, I found my wind chimes deep inside the maze of shops. Of course, my casual inquiries about price produced a flurry of activity as this gentleman brought down one chime after another.
After at least 20 minutes of negotiating, I purchased the wind chimes. He tried hard to sell me more merchandise, telling me that this bell would bring good luck or that statue would attract money into my life. He seemed flattered when I asked to take his picture and posed for my camera.
A perfect ending to my afternoon alone in Old Shanghai.
As I sit at my computer back at home, this all seems surreal. Was I really there? Did I actually walk these streets by myself? Did I communicate with people even though neither of us spoke the other’s language. I must have. The pictures are stored on my computer and the wind chimes now hang on my patio, gifting me with light tinkling music when the breeze gently wafts across my patio and delighting me with a symphony during a storm.