the gift of ruins


doubly noted

Originally uploaded by maryannodonnell

Friend Frank Meinshausen has stopped by on his ’round the world journey. We first met Frank four years ago, when he translated Hope (Chinese > German) for a staged reading at the Schaubuhne, Berlin.

Yesterday, we walked through Zhongshan Park, one of my favorite Shenzhen greenspaces.  At the center of the park are the ruins of the former Ming Dynasty city wall that once enclosed the County Seat of Xin’an County, the adminstrative predessor to Baoan County, which in turn predated Shenzhen Municipality.

So obscure and uncared for is the ruined wall that vines have overgrown the first stone marker and a second has been placed at the base of a tiled staircase, which rises sharply and ends as suddenly as it began. Sundry trails emerge from the park and disappear into the undergrowth, connecting the Ming Dynasty to the rising city of Shenzhen. We walked the narrow path, which traced the boundary of a world that has become as elusive as crumbling fistful of dry earth. We climbed the molding, vaguely imperial concrete viewing platform that abruptly interrupted our steps. We listened to birdsong and inhaled the fragrence of magnolia.

Further flights of romatic fancy, here.

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