Weekly Photo Challenge – The Atypical Horizons of Guilin, China
“Hope is the horizon we reach if we try.”
Sara has asked us to show the horizon, the line where the earth and sky appear to meet. I have chosen to do so by continuing my “tour” of China, this time featuring the beautiful city of Guilin. In today’s header image, the sky meets the earth in the jagged edge of Guilin’s landscape. Above, the horizon is obscured by the lights of the city, reflected in the Li river. A brilliant full moon adds a rosy sheen to several of the buildings along the shore.
“When we look up, it widens our horizons”
Guilin is one of China’s most popular tourist destinations because of its mystical landscape. Often seen in ancient Chinese watercolors, the area is famous for its karsts – limestone formations that create amazing, ethereal scenery around every corner and curve. Because the karsts are ubiquitous, the horizon is seen either as a jagged edge, or as a sliver of a line between the protrusions. Above and below, some examples of the karsts bordering the Li River, which runs throughout the city.
“No horizon is so far that you cannot get above it or beyond it”
The karsts are best seen from the river, so a day-cruise on the Li is an extremely popular activity. Being tourists, we decided to join the crowds and set out on one of the many large boats heading downstream. Along the way we came upon this group, obviously enjoying a different approach! Small bamboo rafts are powered by local oarsmen using poles to navigate the river. Colorful umbrellas protect their patrons from the mid-day sun.
“Utopia lies at the horizon.”
“We all live under the same sky, but we don’t all have the same horizon.”
The karsts were incredible and at each curve of the river there was another wonderful landscape. But for me, the most interesting aspect of our cruise was observing the activities of the local residents, in addition to the oarsmen, who carve their livelihoods from the Li’s waters. Below, a cormorant fisherman works his birds to make the day’s catch.
“The horizon leans forward, offering you space to place new steps of change.”
We observed dishwashing, fishing, duck-raising, boating and bottom-panning, although we were never told what one might find there! Here then, some additional captures of the action along the Li.
“Every horizon, upon being reached, reveals another beckoning in the distance.”
W. Eugene Smith
“A dream is the bearer of a new possibility, the enlarged horizon, the great hope.”
Finally, perhaps because they are so very different from what I might see in my daily life, I was fascinated by the water buffalo which, when not working, seemed to be enjoying the cool waters on a warm summer’s day. These massive creatures have been domesticated in China for over 4,000 years. Across the world, they are depended upon more than any other domesticated animal.
A negative attitude is below the horizon…a place for lonesome hearts.
“You must learn day by day, year by year, to broaden your horizon.”
Guilin’s horizons are clearly a bit less traditional than most. To see some other interpretations on the theme, click here.