金沙庵大殿 Jinsha Nunnery, Chengdu, just before New Year
I can’t believe that this bird allowed me to get so close to it with my cell phone camera. I followed it into the yard of my apartment building, and instead of flying away it seemed to strike poses for me. I was attracted to its vibrant color in the gray deadness of the season. The bird was also tiny, and very difficult to photograph clearly. Perhaps I was chasing some promise of spring.
It’s been a cold winter, wet, drizzly, with occasional snow. Mostly I’ve hibernated indoors, trying to get warm. Now, the new semester is about to begin, and on Monday it’s back to work. The second semester is always easier; the first one was a long dark night of the soul, of which I hope to write more later.
It’s Chinese New Year’s Eve, and at midnight the Year of the Rabbit will officially begin. I just can’t decide what movie to watch to take me through the next couple of hours. This year seems quieter, although I suspect that an ear-splitting cacophony of fireworks will occur around midnight.
Yesterday I made a rare foray into the real world, deciding to embark on my somewhat-annual pilgrimage to the Wenshu Monastery area for the New Year temple fair. It was a good idea – the sun even came out – but the temple fair wasn’t happening yet. I contented myself with getting some rather good photos.
Odd pairing; I wonder if they’re both in the driver’s seat?
I was starving, so I had a quick lunch of jiaozi and long chaoshou (two different types of dumplings) at a local Long Chaoshou Restaurant. Since nothing much was shaking in the monastery area, I visited my favorite quiet and semi-hidden spot in Chengdu: Jinsha Nunnery.
Jinsha Nunnery: doors
I sat and enjoyed the peace and quiet of the small nunnery, listening to the wind rustling through the trees and the birds singing. A stooped elderly woman was shuffling around, making offerings; she might have been one of the local volunteers. She startled me when she sneaked up beside me and offered me a handful of peanuts. Seeing some scattered on the offering table in front of three Buddhas, I assumed I was to make an offering. But no – she said something and I recognized chi, “eat,” and so I repled xie xie, ate one peanut, and pushed the rest in my pocket.
For some reason I felt like going downtown to Starbucks to rest while drinking some hot chocolate, but my plans went awry. The #1 bus had changed its route, so I ended up just south of the Tianfu Square in the center of town, and walked back to the subway entrance, in the center of the park and down a huge sunken entrance that looks like some archaological dig gone horribly wrong. My feet were killing me, so I headed home for a nap.
春节快乐！Happy Spring Festival and Year of the Rabbit!