When one of our companions this trip was having some trouble getting a proper ticket from Beijing to Wudang with the rest of us in hard sleeper, he was encouraged to do what countless desperate Chinese must do: buy a little portable stool to sit on during the nearly 24-hour overnight journey in a crowded cattle car. (There are hawkers roaming the station selling stools for just this purpose.) I joked about my stool adventure, and we decided that we would make a trek to present his little stool to the hermit as a kind of offering...assuming he would remember.
|Bee Taoist Jia Ye (and a tiny Sufi), September 2013.|
|I would like to know the story of this. This is like finding a statue of Lao Tzu in a mosque.|
So the stool metaphor continued through the end of our trip and then some. If I can consider it a metaphor. (There were not a few stool jokes made related to the previous blog post. You can get very preoccupied with stool in China.) The train stool purchaser and veritable art critic commented that the installation "represents the non-linearity of the journey of learning that we undertook interspersed by reminders of our humanity within the unfolding humanity of China. I am glad I was sitting down on my stool at the time I opened these [photos] as I couldn't believe that someone could actually mutilate such objects of beauty..." I couldn't have put it better.