Sunday Post: Peaceful

I took this shot July 3, at a city park where I worked in Feicheng, Shandong Province, China. I’ve returned to this image frequently, trying to attach a story to the woman.  At first look, this might appear to be peaceful scene, but the more I look at it, I don’t think it is.

Resting After Supper

Resting After Supper

The reflection of trees at the top of the image give us a feeling of peace, and the woman is resting in the peace of the evening. However, the lotus leaves cut across the shot, right in the center, creating a feeling of unease and unrest. Look closely; there is a discarded paper cup littering the lotus leaves. A metaphor?

The woman, herself, appears to be more troubled than peaceful. Her brow is raised; her posture is not relaxed. She has carried her portable stool down the hill to the lotus pond, possibly searching for a quiet rest,  for a moment of peace. Is she praying for someone? Her husband? Her child? Herself?

You can find other posts in response to Jake’s Sunday Challenge at his link:  http://jakesprinters.wordpress.com

 

Ancient Homes Amidst Progress

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?

Click on an image to see it full size.

Waiting

These bikes belong to the people who work in one of the parks in Feicheng. They seem alive to me … like animals waiting for their masters to return.

The Art of Music

Musical instruments, in the right hands, can gift our ears with heavenly sounds and elicit in us strong emotional responses. Musical instruments, especially the ancient ones, can delight the eyes as well, because they are exquisite works of art. The Hulusi, Guzheng, Sheng, and Erhu are four such ancient Chinese instruments that both look and sound beautiful.

I heard extraordinary music from two young people at my Feicheng friends’ home. Their son, who is a gifted musician, brought tears with his brief piano concert (Lang Lang will have serious competition in a few years.) and for his finale played the ancient Hulusi. Their young neighbor played the Guzheng with breath-taking skill and artistry.

The Hulusi, or Cucurbit Flute, has three bamboo pipes passing through a gourd wind chest.

The Guzheng or Gu Zheng is something like a zither. It is a beautiful instrument and would be a showpiece in any living room. Under skilled hands, it becomes the language of angels.

When walking along a river park in Feicheng, I discovered a group of musicians performing for a small assembly of citizens. It’s a shame because they were so good and should have been in a large venue.

This instrument, the Sheng, is one of the oldest Chinese instruments, with images in artwork dating back to 1100 BC. It is one of the primary instruments used in the Chinese opera.

The Erhu is a two-stringed bowed instrument, sometimes called a “southern fiddle.” It is now used in both traditional and contemporary music.

This is the pagoda (taken a few days before) where the musicians shared their music with a few people in the park. The shot shows the juxtaposition of the old architecture (although I’m sure that the pagoda is new) with the sleek new high rise.

Evenings in Feicheng

One of the best aspects of life in Feicheng, Shandong Province, China is the sense of community. Although Feicheng has a population of nearly 1 million people, it has a small-town feel.

After the evening meal, the people come outside. They walk, sit and chat, gather together for a type of exercise that appears to be is a slow moving line-dance, they buy and sell on the sides of the streets, they watch their children play or perform.

They are doing a line dance.

The dance is coordinated, fluid, and beautiful. I’ve seen such dancing all over the city.

Here, it looks as if they are marching. No, they are dancing.

I watched this man for a long time before I was able to capture his image. I like the concentration on his face and admire his willingness to get out there and dance.

This little girl is working with her mother to sell on the street which is lined with vendors selling everything from shoes to batteries.

These little ones are learning how to roller blade while their parents look on.

The young people put on a taekwondo demonstration.

I frequently see the old people sitting quietly on their small folding stools.