Category: Insights

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Dragon Brazier, Kong Miao, Confucius Temple, Beijing, China

The Dragon is China

“The Dragon is China,” she told me.

I nodded an assent, then shook my head… paused. “What does that mean?”

She told me. I must still not have understood, because I’ve forgotten. Only the phrase is left. I couldn’t focus, and the image in my mind drifted away.

Like this photo of a dragon-handled brazier at Kong Miao, the Confucius Temple in Beijing. Ever so slightly, focussed too deep. And like a photograph, there is no way, hard as I’ve tried, to bring China fully into focus.

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The Road of Flight

The Road of Flight

66 is the mother road, the road of flight.
~ John Steinbeck, The Grapes of Wrath, Chapter 12

Steinbeck dedicated chapter twelve of Grapes to Route 66, the road of flight for dust bowl refugees seeking the promise of something better in California. The chapter traces Route 66, its terrain, its places, its challenges, the experiences of its desperate travellers, from the Joad family home in Oklahoma all the way to Los Angeles.

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Give me shelter

Give me shelter

Roofs. Shelter and safety.

First, a tangent.

 安   is   ān   ~  peace in Mandarin Chinese
安 is ān ~ peace in Mandarin Chinese
Chinese characters are beautiful things. The more interesting ones often contain characters within characters, known as ‘radicals’. So any character containing the character for water is inflected with the sense of liquid, and any character containing the roof radical is inflected with the sense of shelter/safety, or lack of it.