“Darkness is just light turned inside out.”
This week we have been challenged to look on the inside, to see past the obvious. As I was working with our tour company to put together our China itinerary, I stressed exactly that – an interest in looking inside the “real” China, which to me meant visiting some of the more remote, less modernized regions.
“Every moment is a crossroad in time. Consider that, as above so below and as inside so outside and live accordingly.”
What I’ve learned thus far, as so aptly put by my husband, is that China is a dichotomy, a country in transition – bicycles and BMWs, ancient and modern, young and old, crazy crowded and peacefully solitary. As a UNESCO world heritage site, the ancient city of Ping Yao offers a look at China before the many cranes and expanding roadways began to change her look and feel.
“What lies behind you and what lies in front of you, pales in comparison to what lies inside of you.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson
The Ping Yao region has been occupied since neolithic times, and has been an urban center since 800 BC; its walls were built in the 14th century. It was the home of the first draft bank in China and thus became a major center for trade and commerce.
“We are all alike on the inside.”
As business and industry moved to more modern cities like Beijing and Shanghai, places like Ping Yao have begun to depend on tourism and local commerce for their livelihoods. The remarkable preservation of the walls and courtyards of Ping Yao make it a valid visit to China’s simpler past – but because it is off the beaten path it is not overrun nor spoiled by its tourism. Here then, a few examples of the walls and courtyards within them:
“Who looks outside dreams, who looks inside awakes.”
And finally, a look at some of Ping Yao’s people going about their everyday lives – showing us that what’s inside is not about the walls, or the courtyards, or even the history. It’s about those upon whom China depends for her future, her people.
“In the midst of movement and chaos, keep stillness inside of you.”
China, to me, is a visual explosion. There are photographs just waiting to be made at every turn. During our travels in the countryside, the grasses are so green and the flowers so yellow, you just want to dive into them – but more on that next time 🙂 In the meanwhile, to see more entries on the Inside, click here.