“Sweet the rain’s new fall, sunlit from heaven
Like the first dewfall on the first grass
Praise for the sweetness of the wet garden
Sprung in completeness where his feet pass “
~ Yusuf Islam (Cat Stevens)
My first week in Zehngzhou and Ma Nature doesn’t dissapoint! She blesses me with incredible weather, sunsets and sunrises, the music of crickets, the flight of the butterfly, and the beauty of the familiar Trumpet Vine.
I’m walking round my new neighborhood, finding my way, becoming familiar with the lay-of-the-land, and finding my way to work! It’s incredible here and I’ve always wanted to live in the heart of the city, and to walk to the hardware store, to walk to the market, and to get take-away and eat in the park or with the view from my flat. I’d been asking for it, I just didn’t know it would be here, 6300 miles from my roots in California, to this beautiful city here in Zhengzhou, China!
Mornings come early for me as I’m adjusting to the time change. I have always woke early, but here, I am waking round 3:00 am and from my perch on the thirteenth floor, the city is still asleep, under a gauzy haze and the promise of the day ahead. On my first Wednesday, there was an unfamiliar feel in the air, an even more humid feeling and a swirly nature to the sky and low and behold it’s my first rainy day in my new city. Ma Nature wasn’t satisfied with a few sprinkles, she sent a chorus of blustery wind accompanied by thunder and lightening in the early evening that lasted into the night!
My recollection of rain back home is an indescribable smell of rain as it is arriving, it’s initial moistening of the sidewalks sharing a most familiar scent that always transported me to childhood. Here in China, the rain didn’t arrive with that familiar scent; like everything for me these days, it is an entirely new experience. The city doesn’t drain well, so there is standing water in the streets, at the curb corners, and people do not like the rain. They dislike it so much that many things stop to avoid the reprecussions of the rain and all the water. Imagine the creative orchestrating of automobiles and e-bikes and pedestrians on normal hot humid days, it’s a modern dance version of a ballet with an exuberant orchestral accompaniment of horns and the whir of electric bikes, and the occassional screech of brakes. When the streets are wet and there’s standing water, and hundreds of people scurrying about, it requires even more creative correography than usual!
The streets in my city are tree lines and shady, which provides needed respite during the heat of the day and on this day, I enjoyed a sweet walk home, just barely wet thanks to the same leafy cover of the trees on the boulevard. I was properly entertained with lightening strikes brightening the evening sky, cymbol like crashing thunder, view of e-bike drivers balancing umbrellas in one hand with one handed steering! Streets play host to numerous restaurnats and on this rainy night, their windows revealed packed houses of people avoiding the rain! When I reached my flat, I hurried to the outer staircase on my floor that overlooks the city, to catch a view of this performance above the trees, which didn’t disapoint! Building construction is such, and me being on the thirteenth floor, I couldn’t hear the clapping thunder indoors nor the rat-a-tat-tat of rain on the roof… Still, the experience was immensely memorable.
The following day, I was greeted by the clearest morning sunrise and the most beautiful blue sky day one could imagine! It rivaled my most favorite Summer day waking early morning in San Francisco with a view of Union Square!
I’ve arrived here in ZZ at just the right time, I’m told; the hottest of days are past and we’re moving in to Autumn with cooler days, and the changing of leaf color, and trees baring their branches, and then into a cold, icy, snowy Winter.
Meanwhile, you’ll find me enjoying the moments, the sound of the crickets, the flight of the butterflies, and the shade of the large oak trees…