Its a natural law, everyone must sleep. But where do we go when we sleep? We surrender completely to a process we know very little about and lay in a still state recharging as part of us travels to who knows where! And then don’t get me started on dreams!
Day 49 of 365~
Image taken of a bird flying over the river Lahn
missing the party~ shanghai alley
To be able to shut down, recharge, get rest, anywhere, in any situation, is the gift of sleep.
My shutter click woke her up and I found myself buying water bottles as a form of apology 🙂
a safe place to rest
For ‘les enfants de la rue’, the children of the street in Kinshasa, a bit of ground in an enclosed secure place can make a world of difference where their safety is concerned. These children roam the streets by night in search of food, opportunity and means and ways. During the day, a center like this one (Cajed), is a place for them to be with people who care for a few hours. The can, eat, have lessons, play and most importantly rest. These 2 children were fast asleep during the whole of my visit and despite other children playing and running and jumping all around them.
I am quite behind in these Congo posts for April, because it gets more and more difficult each day to go relive this experience through the thousands of photos captured there. Each photograph forces me to relive the moments with all the emotions that accompanied it.
Driving across country borders, getting cradled by the moving car on asphalt roads, watching sleepily as trees and electric posts appear to be zipping by, it all can put us in a state of dreaminess and it allows us to gently slip into a deep sleep. I remember still taking Lea for drives as a baby and her falling asleep as soon as the car started humming, and I feel so much nostalgia and endearment watching this happen again today.
I remember riding the subway years ago in New York City on the way to work and back and doing what people end up doing on the train, watching other people. And I remember always how fascinating it was to watch people sleeping, because even the most seemingly rough person can look so peaceful and innocent when they are sleeping. It is a mystery that, because it seems to me that when we sleep, our personalities, our hardened identities, our rough shells, are put away to rest and out comes the fragile us, the us that are innocent, gentle, kind, human…
photo: Lea, just moments after falling asleep
At our local wet market where I buy our daily fruits and vegetables, the residents of the chicken stall were asleep. One temporarily and the others sort of permanently. This market makes me contemplate going vegetarian once again. The black chicken there is called Silkie, and it is a very much valued breed of chicken that is said to have originated in China and it is called wu gu ji (烏骨雞 in Chinese, which is literally ‘dark boned chicken’. Alive, and before going into permanent sleep as in this photo, they are covered with black fluffy fur (as opposed to feathers of other chicken).
More cultural traditions to get used to in our life in China.
A few days ago, we entered the sixth year of our expatriate life in Shanghai and I so wish I was doing a 365 project for every day of those years. Living here is in every way a thrilling adventure, looking daily at the strange canvas of what this culture of contrasts has to offer. And some things never change. Amongst the new buildings, the fancy high rises, the dozens of emerging 5 star hotels and glitzy malls, the workers continue to sleep in their stalls, they still ride their run down bikes carrying load of odd baggage, and they are always sweet, innocent and grounded in old tradition. Yes, I value every day I spend here and for that I will continue to drag my camera around daily into the streets of this amazing city.
photo taken: man asleep in his stall at the fabric market near the Bund, Shanghai
sampling the merchandise
Go to any Ikea store in China and you are guaranteed to find at least 10 people (I have once counted over 50 people) sleeping, lounging, chilling with shoes off, reading books, listening to music, on the sample furniture. They appear to come for their lunch breaks and just really shut down and take a rest ignoring all the noise of shoppers around them. I am still not sure how to process this behavior, but at the moment all I can say is that I wish I was that free 🙂
photo taken: man fast asleep, he wouldn’t have woken up if you sat on him, in the newly opened giant Ikea shop in Pudong, rumored to be largest in all Asia.
where do you go to to in your dreams?
Every night at the end of our day we are compelled to sleep. This is one law of nature no one has managed to overcome yet. And we trust; we trust that we will go into the unknown and that somehow we will be safe and we will wake up again. Our consciousness is dulled for the hours of our daily recharge and we seldom remember any of the journeys our mind takes during that time. Well we sometimes dream and that is a whole other mystery…
a sleepless night with a little bear
For any parent, the most unforgettable and uncomfortable times are those spent with a sick child. You do everything in your power to comfort them, you pray to take away their pain into yourself, you worry, you call on all your reserve strength to be there for them completely and with all your senses and with all the love that you can muster. This was such a night, a night of suspected mild concussion spent at the hospital awake, monitoring, hoping and wishing for all to be ok. And thankfully it was. Little bear was there for comfort and occasional hugs.