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  • Writer's picture老贵阳

Celestial Goose Trail, part III

Even a loyal servant to the Will of the City sometimes has to find solace in the greens of the mountains, and blues of the waters somewhere in the country; I have been on the road for a bit but now I come back to deliver the last remaining piece of the Celestial Goose Trail. As I have already decided what the next Story and Trail are going to be, I shall not keep you waiting, Dear Reader.

Let's pick up where we finished. The cementary, yes.

12. I have always liked cemeteries. Not because I have some morbid fascination with death - quite the opposite. A necropolis seems to be the best place to ease one's mind and contemplate life, far away from the hustle and bustle that fills the world of living. It reminds me of the impermanence of things, as obviously there are no things holy in the domain of time - even these tomb stones will one day perish, names of all those who were laid to rest here - forgotten. Right now, however, it is a beautiful garden on the very top of the City, the hot air filled with songs of birds and the rustling of leaves. On my way up I pass the enormous footprints of the Buddha Gautama himself. The story goes, that when Xuanzang, the fabled monk of the Tang Dynasty, journeyed to India under the auspice of Guanyin to claim the sutras donated by Buddha to the people of the East, he had a chance to visit the site of Gautama's ascension to Nirvana and managed to procure such a drawing. In the middle, there's a lotus flower, symbolising purity; what we know as an inverted swastika is in fact an enbodiment of the concept of avidya (to put it very very simply: a state of confusion between important things, and not that important things). The fish stands for freeing oneself from worldly worries - who would have guessed! Certainly not me, raised in a far-away land of Roman and Greek symbolism. But it does not matter - symbols too are impermanent in their meanings. Therefore I will not bore you, Dear Reader, with the rest of what I've learnt; I think about how all things are connected, somehow, yet this connections seem to be the most fragile things in the entire universe. The Colossus with Legs of Clay.

13. I'm not the top of the stairs, finally, and I'm not yet seeing black dots in my vision so things seem alright. There's a ivory-coloured stupa in the central point of the peak - it brings back the memories of Manfeilong White Stupa in Xishuanbanna region (Yunnan Province), and the winter ascend through the eerie forrest filled with fog so thick, that it really got me thinking if perhaps the bus I had been on crashed on its way to my destination, and this is it. Clearly, it wasn't it unless afterlife includes writing hiking and writing and all the other worldly pleasures, in which case it doesn't even matter... Back to the stupas. Of course, these two have nothing in common, and the one in the picture isn't even a proper stupa. There's also over 800 years gap between them so really, I do now know why I think of Manfeilong; it must be the colour. I love ivory white. I wander around the hilltop for a while; such a lovely and tranquil place, but I know that if I sit down and wait for too long I'll be too tired to carry on.

14. Asphalt road ends soon after I pass the necropolis. Now this part of the Trail isn't even on my map, but there are cars passing occasionally so I know it must lead to somewhere. Turns out there's a driving school on the left side - this is the second time I find one in a place like this, so remote that I can't imagine anyone finding it without being brought here on purpose. There's a couple of strange workshops which purpose I can't really tell, but the chemical smell suggests some kind of lacquering or industrial laundry.

15. Buildings become scarce and soon I'm among trees and ruins - finally starting to walk downhill. I know I am almost at the end of my Trail as after taking a sharp turn I can see the Empire of Evil buildings in the distance. These are the old type ones, probably one of the first to be built, clearly aimed at customers with more limited spendings. Is this not the City of Doors, where one gets magically transported between realms of existence? I am often prone to think so. One moment I'm in the middle of a emerald mountain, among the ceaseless buzzing of insects and a suffocating smell of everything in full bloom - a second later the road winds further down and I can surely tell I'm standing atop the entrance to the Beijing Rd. tunnel.

16. The air is moist with pollen, as I start getting mild symptoms of hay fever; luckily, it's only a short distance down the hill now, and in no time I find myself at the back of the housing community. The exit from the Trail is so steep that if someone told me to start it from this way I would probably quit immediately. Now I have the shrubby slope on my left, and the sea of concrete on my right. I spot a lonely, abandoned fruit vendor car on the sidewalk. It somehow makes me feel sad, as it looks like no-one in the entire area wanted to buy fruit or veggies, thus causing it to meet its ultimate fate of becoming forgotten in a back alley. But now it's not forgotten anymore! Anonymous Fruit Bus - now you'll forever stay in our hearts and thoughts. Nothing in the City becomes forgotten as long as I care to remember.

17. It's the end. I'm beat, and frankly there is no point of me walking all the way back home through the tunnels, so I take the bus and swiftly phase myself out of the Future and into the Past. This route takes me to the Daily Paper Community so I still need to walk a little to make it safe back to the Friendship Road. It isn't even half as hot in the city centre as it was on top of the Celestial Goose. Now, I breath with ease. To those who stayed with me till this very end, I present a bonus, a newly met friend - I shall call him the Guardian of Yogurt. Small in size, but not lacking in courage. She's friendly, yet the yogurts here are all way too sweet for my taste. Also - who keeps milk products out of the fridge in a 30 degrees plus heat? I might be Lao Guiyang, I think, but Her ways still remain mysterious to me.


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