For the largest part of our recent history, we humans find ourselves living in a box of our own making. We have lived in caves, tents, huts, houses, and the majority of the human race lives currently in complex buildings inside large cities that resemble beehives and are just as noisy.
Then one day, we, the city dwellers find ourselves in a forest and we begin the process of expansion. It happens slowly and gradually that for a while we carry our virtual box with us wherever we go, even to remote places and we are simply unable to let go.
I just marvel at the idea of being able to shed all the confining webs we weave around ourselves and to simply be…
Men puffing out tobacco smoke has become such a common daily sight for us living in China, people smoke in the rain, on bikes, while working, in classrooms, and sometimes even while eating! Yunnan was no different. The ladies smoked their pipes leisurely while the men smoked cigarettes and water pipes. The tobacco fields can be seen spread out for miles around the valleys and mountainous regions of Yunnan and the smoking traditions thrives.
This man was sitting in a small one room restaurant in a marketplace and he enjoyed his tobacco while I photographed him feeling almost proud and theatrically demonstrating his skill at exhaling the clouds above his head.
There are those in the world who are destined to have their whole lives intertwined with hard labor . They accept their fates and press on through life with strength, determination and a quiet acceptance.
There are so many places in the world where life is slow moving and where people are not scurrying around from train to office, to market, to bar, to home only to wake up and do it all over again. It is almost as though they are there to balance the high speed of the cities that might cause the planet to spin out of control. So is the beautiful old village of Xiping near Guilin, where a card game could be enough to add thrill to the day.
If you grew up like me in a small village, you would have had the pleasure of meeting the village locals, fixtures in the village square. In them resides the angel of the village, and they are in many ways the keepers, watchers and essence holders of the whole place. They sit in their usual spots and remain there patiently for long hours during the day monitory the goings on of life around them. Meeting them is meeting the truth of the village.
History and civilizations are not linear in their development…
Each time I look at remains of ancient civilizations like the Chinese, the Mayans, the Romans, the Greeks, and the Egyptians, I find it quite difficult to relegate the fact that a lot of what is evident in their artifacts and architecture points to a more developed culture in certain ways than what we are witnessing today. Despite the post-industrial revolution’s speedy advancements in technology, I find that comparing for example the pyramids, temples, artwork of the ancient Egyptians, today’s Egypt appears to be primitive in so many ways.
This leads me to wonder where the human race has gone wrong. Did we deviate in some way from the glory that could have been? Or is a world engrossed in wars, poverty, global warming, revolutions and failed leaderships the way of the future?