This week driving Li Li to daycare the light and the air reminded me of sunlit mornings in Beijing. Here’s a little haiku in honor of those Beijing winter mornings.
Slanting winter sun
casts long shadows, morning dust
turning air sepia
Although we only skimmed the surface of the city and were never part of the rhythms of living in the city, I wonder about the Hutongs we walked through and how many of them are still there? Walking through the hutongs provided a glimpse of the rhythms even if we weren’t part of them and even during our short stay we saw active open stores demolished overnight. How long before all the shops and courtyard homes we saw are removed in the name of progress for a condo project or apartment building with rents 6 times what they are paying now? Even at 3 in the morning the hutongs were alive with people eating in little noodle shops and small stores but the new big buildings and city blocks right next door to the hutong were cold, lifeless and a little scary.
I wonder about the immigrants to the city. How are they doing now that the Olympics is over and the economy is cratering?
Just questions without answers but if you take the long view as any student of chinese history must, you’ll know that whatever happens will be interesting to watch and probably a little scary as well. -t