Ping Tracker

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Grass Rubbing Amongst a Lack of Greenery

(Part 1 of a 2 or 3 part series)

Because you are a foreigner, while you are staying in China, you will likely be staying in the midst of a large or mid-sized city in one of the many, many high-rise hotels or apartment buildings.

Every person in the city lives in one of these apartment buildings. 
This is super, super nice. Don't expect to see many (if any) this clean. 

Chinese cities are very different from American cities and the environment leads to different attitudes among the Chinese people about the environment and green places. 

Chinese cities all have parks, which are usually pretty green and pretty awesome places, but outside these parks, there is a conspicuous lack of color throughout the cities. 
at Beijing's Beihai Park

The buildings are usually all the same shade of gray or off-white, and the streets are the usual black and the sidewalks are grey or have red and yellow tiling. 
This is a pic I took in Guangzhou. See? There's just not much color

Just not real green...

These colors are absolutely everywhere and rarely, if ever, vary throughout the city. Psychologically, it's pretty depressing on an unconscious level. Streets sometimes have a line of trees on the side walk New York City style, but those are the only sign of plant life in the heart of the city. But because everything's so compact, it's rare.


Story Time!

When I was in Lanzhou, I was sitting outside with my friend, Xia Fei, outside of the Lanzhou University of Technology library. This was mid-July, and I had been in China for about 5 months or so. 
(about where the grass is on the mid-left of this picture)

Anyway, we were sitting and just chatting about life and girls and all kinds of stuff, when I started rubbing my hand on the grass - kind of tussling it, and pulling out a couple of blades.....that's a weird way to describe it, but you know what I mean. I just couldn't stop. Over the course of the entire afternoon (literally - we chatted probably 3 or 4 hours total), I kept rubbing that grass. I couldn't figure out why until a LOOONG time later. 

I hadn't touched grass in 5 months. That's why I couldn't stop doing it. I had been so engulfed by city life in a desert environment that I hadn't touched grass in almost half a year. 

It doesn't sound like much, but it's really something that should be thought about. How would your life, your attitudes, your mindset, be affected by an environment so urbanized that the touch of grass evokes such a response?

After telling this story, I said to my friend Monica, "I know this sounds stupid, but..." and then she immediately says, "Oh no, that's not stupid at all! There's just something built into human nature that needs trees, needs grass, needs fresh air and's not stupid, I totally understand."

And I realized that she was right. There is something within us that is awakened when we are in the presence of nature and natural beauty - even a city park. It's an indescribable feeling of basic connectedness and peace - a yearning for our ancestral roots. If a person goes their whole life without having these soulful moments, something beautiful has been lost. 

We can't live a life of credit cards, iPhones, and a job,

and forget the sound of the wind as it blows through the mountain's trees.

If we reach that point as a species, then we will have lost a crucial part of our humanity. 

(Part 1 of 2 or 3 - Stay Tuned!)

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...