Dusk in Foshan

Oh time, you slippery friend. Somehow February is not only upon us but underway. The winter in Guangzhou was brief this year – temperatures are already back to the 70s and 80s of autumn. I write to you from the back patio at Rui’s family’s house, overlooking the lake as dusk settles. The moon is a certain smile on this, the fourth day of Chinese New Year. Above me, the perfect gradient of gray to blue is peppered with cotton candy clouds. Flashing lights meet their shimmering reflections on the lake and lilypads. All of this with a breeze and I’m somehow reminded of Seattle in the early summer.

Little bats fly above the lake now. They really are quite little, the creatures dipping and darting this way and that can’t be much longer than my ring finger. Earlier this week I dreamt I was home in San Ramon but the city as it was in perhaps 2003. My friend Dan and I were in our neighborhood. At one point I turned into a bat and flew up high near a tall coniferous tree long ago chopped down.

I’ve always been a nostalgic person, but recently my nostalgia is less for particular incidents and arrangements of my life and more for feelings and colors since passed. It is not a missing so much as a re-touching of every cornerstone, to make sure they’re all there. That tree I dreamt of – how many years has it been since I recalled it? I feel certain that someday time will take that, or at least its equivalents, from me. For now, I can only smile at all the beautiful that has come before and all the beautiful still yet to.

I’m listening to Jose Gonzalez’s Veneer album while families set off fireworks across the lake. They are obscured by foliage but their lights shine through. I’m thinking about what comes next – and how to get there.

It is now the year of the Pig – my zodiac year and my golden year. On April 24 I will turn 24. Nearly a quarter century on this big old earth. I want this year to be better than I’ve had in a long time. I think (hope) all the emotional rock bottoms of this period are behind me. This year I could use a break.

I’m less in touch than I’ve been, but more alive than ever.


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