And there was one still, all dressed up and ready to go, in my neighborhood tonight. Perhaps waiting patiently for his visa for his annual trip to Alaska. Just like me. I called my faithful Chinese travel agent today. "Should I be nervous about my visa application?" I leave for China in less than two weeks. Mr. Lee assured me that he had checked. "It's on the way." I don't like that my passport is in the hands of the Chinese Embassy, in Los Angeles no less. But I do trust Mr. Lee, who is also the travel agent of choice of my Chinese painting teacher.
But all we can do is wait. When the kolea are finally gone, surely in the next few days, perhaps my visa will arrive. Funny that I should attach my own cycles to a migratory bird's. To say nothing of seasonal allergies. The albizia off my lanai, the one that was so drastically trimmed a couple years ago after a branch fell off and blocked egress on the bridge across the stream from my parking lot, is blooming. All of the scarred trimmed areas have sprouted new green branches. It's fragrant, attracts bees, but I think it's why I wake up in the morning coughing and struggling to breathe through some major congestion in my upper skull. Not everyone likes them.
Today I bought some feng shui charms, a lapis elephant and a jade rhinoceros, to protect me and keep me safe while traveling. "These only work if you believe they do," Lillian Hong, the feng shui shopkeeper told me. "They are to remind you of positive energy." (And I took advantage of her buy-one-get-one-free offer.) This reminded me of a line in the wonderful old King Hu film, A Touch of Zen. The protagonists are in a very spooky place. One asks, "Is this place haunted?" His companion responds, "It depends on whether you believe in ghosts or not."
Ghosts? Tao? Whatever it is that moves the kolea, draws me back to Wudang. When the time is right, I'll board the plane, all documents (and charms) in order, ready for another experiment in spontaneity.