Thursday, December 17, 2009

Ap Lei Chau, Hong Kong

Start time: 6am, December 30th, 2006

The sun is rising right now. Through the haze the sun is getting brighter as the night falls, thick, on the the other side. I want to go for a walk. I feel like smoking - not so much for the nicotine - more for the motion, the ritual, for the excuse to breathe deeply while doing something destructive and intimate - but I know I won't. And I don't. Smoke or walk. Not today. Is it fog or haze (man-made)? It takes on the color of deep blue, grey to light grey, blurring the distinct lines of the buildings on the tops of the mountains. Like distal concerns I can see their outline, I know they're there, looming but not intimidating, when I get there, to the buildings at the top, I'll be ready.

But here, on the 17th floor, I sit looking forward, a shift of the eyes down and I see details I did not see in the dark before the rising sun. Tree tops are clearly defined, I can see each leaf that makes up the canopy that blocks my view of the ground beneath, but I know what looks like as well. Save for a few small boats ferrying people, things, back and forth, the movement on the water is minimal. While there is plenty left to be explored and I want to explore it, I know I sit on the 17th floor, flights above, height that gives me clarity about what I walk through, experience every day, today and tomorrow.

My eyes shift up and proximal concerns, the ground, occupies only the lower portion of my view. I look up and as the light from the sun overwhelms my eyes, overpowering the lights from distant buildings as the main source of illumination, the buildings become less distinct, the lines more blurred, but what hasn't changed is that they sit atop a mountain. Ever present. Though created by hand those buildings sit atop a mountain. I realize that it is not the buildings themselves that are looming and not intimidating, they were just a focal point - just like Western eyes to find a focal point and regard it as the source of...

but it is the mountains that hold them up, that allow them the opportunity to be so "highly regarded", the silent foundation that strikes me with awe. I want to appreciate those mountains, feel the dirt beneath my feet - the pressure of the earth pushing me back as I push on it - propelling me up. The buildings atop the mountains have lost their glow, swallowed by the haze. The mountains, themselves, have softened into shades of brown and grey, the backdrop to another day. Strange, yet comforting, the things I see so clearly in the dark. In the light. And for the brief moment one gives way to the other.

End Time: 7:15am, December 30th, 2006