Friday, June 27, 2008

Up Emei Island


The day started off with us rolling out of bed at the newest hotel. Cyn's uncle had been in a suit with the crazy driver friend. We went to eat breakfast and met up with the traffic cops. Only one of them dressed in uniform. We ate (I didn't because I wasn't hungry after the meal the night before). We went to the mountain following the police. When we got to a certain point, it was no longer safe to drive. We got out and got into a bus for free (because of the cops) and went up further. It kept getting colder and foggier until there was snow covering the whole road. We put chains on our tires and continued ahead up the mountain. We passed people walking in the snow that covered their lower legs completely.

The zig-zag upward continued for about 40 minutes or the length of a horrible Shanghi comedy which was showing on the bus. When we stopped for the second time it was snowing. Cynthia's mom threw a snowball at her dad. There were ice cicles that were three feet long hanging from a shelter in the pines. The trees looked thicker here, and gave the only relief to the eye from the exausting glare of white snow. This was a foggy winter wonderland.

The cops got us onto a gondola for free and we rode through the clouds. Trees appeared and disappeared covered in snow and fog. There were windows all around me, but I could not see even ten feet into the cloud surrounding our tiny gondola. And then...we were in heaven. The sun reflected off the tops of golden clouds at our feet. The mountain appears to be gold from the reflected light all around it. As far as the eye can see there are clouds underfoot, broken up only by peaks of other mountain tops perhaps hundreds of miles away.

As we reached the top of Emei, the trip has taken four hours from breakfast. Now the temperature is 70 degrees and a light breeze calms the soul. The older generations of people bow before the buddah in the temple, lighting insense and praying. There is a hollow bell behind the temple that draws my attention. An ancient commune of sound not unlike NASA's SETI in inspiration. It is ornately hung beside a wooden log that swings toward its side. As for me, I look out at what seems to be an eternal plane of cloud and light. This is What Genesis 1 calls the ferment. For the first time I am brought to the state of the prodigal son. A breeze blows over my goosebumped skin as I stare out into the mysterious waves and Islands and see creation again.

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