Swallowed

To clarify, I am still sitting at home [in Utah].  I will not be flying out till the day of May 22, and when I arrive on the 24th, all I will do in Beijing is hold my breath till I can catch my next plane.  It was going to be about 4, but Air China changed my schedule and now I only have about 2.5 hours there.  Coming back in August, I should have about 8 hours in Beijing.
 
Although I will bypass China on this trip, I have not ignored the possibility of a recurring "Incheon Effect", by which I first visit the airport and later the country.  But then, I’m still indebted to Japan…
 
I’ve watched two China films recently… "Curse of the Golden Flower" and "Shadow Magic".  My mom described me as a feather in the wind when I told her that the films had made me consider studying that language at BYU…
 
Why haven’t I studied Mandarin Chinese?
 
Well, in fact, I have.  I took a Satuday class of it once, and I checked out a library CD once…
 
But why haven’t I loved Mother China?
 
Well, of course, it’s easier to hate China’s outward ugliness than to love her innate beauty…
 
…Because… maybe…
 
…China… is just… too big.
 
How could I ever wrap my arms around her?  How could I love such an infinite land?
 
China, I’m afraid, would swallow me whole, as she has her neighbours…
 
…But…
 
…The movies…
 
The simplicity and beauty of feeling… and that humbling timelessness…
 
I would be a sinner not to love the China I saw on that screen… a perhaps fictitious place that nevertheless compels belief…
 
And like Alexander, if I too am ever swallowed by the East…
 
…It will be because I want to be.
 
Anyway, for now, my gaze is set… on China’s estranged and abused northern sister… who, though much less girthy, is by her very emptiness an even vaster frontier.
 
But I’m not going to Mongol to trek aimlessly; not this time.
 
I’m going there to sit down, hold still…  …and soak it up.
 
And if I come back… emptier…
 
…It will be because I tipped, and overflowed… and sloshed out part of myself into the open mouth of a thirsty continent that never gets full.
 
-Steve
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2 Responses to Swallowed

  1. T says:

    Hi, Steve , long time have not talking with you . So far so good, I have been in China 3 months. May be I will go to Singapore on June. hmmm, sounds like your new Asia trip is amazing . er, you will by China air line to change plane in Beijing soon ,right ?I guees you will landing at T3, it\’s newest. you can also feel about China mainland when you break . anyway, have a good trip to you . take care .!! ~xt

  2. Steve says:

    Wow, thanks for the tip. I guess you\’ve been happy in China these days…

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