Thursday, February 24, 2011

Day 127 - Shadows

Thought of the day: It's a day with very mixed emotions for me.  On the bright side, we had a great day skiing in the powders and trees and had good friends coming up to join us.  On the dark side, I had a bad news from China that my dear uncle just passed away.  My uncle was a very good and intelligent man but he had had some pretty bad luck in his 82 years of life.  He was an expert in traditional Chinese culture.  After college, he volunteered to live and teach in the harsh Manchurian region.  In a few years, he became a well respected educator.  Unfortunately, then the cultural revolution started and he was among the first to be purged and saw twenty of his most productive years wasted away in the shadow of the "revolution".  In the 90s, he retired and was finally able to move home.  At first, he lived in our countryside home where he grew up in.  The country air, village life, and the abundance of time when he could dive into his beloved traditional literature suit him well.  He was a happy man when I saw him there.  Sadly, in a few years, he had to move away to the neighboring city to help his son, who was struggling to make a living at that time.  He lived in a dilapidated apartment in the city, where he could hear the city noise from dawn to dusk and take in the polluted city air in every breath.  And then the unthinkable happened - his son, my cousin, passed away from cancer at a healthy, young age.  That delivered a terrible blow to him and I don't believe he had ever recovered from that.  Unfortunately, I had not been able to spend a lot of time with my uncle other than one summer month when my brother and I lived in Manchurian with his family.  I had a lot of respect for him though because of who he was and I also had a lot of sympathy for him because of what he had been through.  I wish I had known him better.  The news of his passing away hit me hard.  One phrase stuck in my head: "we mortals are but shadows and dust, shadows and dust, shadows and dust..." I am not able to talk about it yet.  But at least I can write about it.

Photo of the day:
Shadows when we went up on a ski lift (cell phone photo).

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