In Ancient China poets often sat around drinking tea or wine together, composing poems and sharing their inspiration. So after our trek up the waterfalls, when Xiao Xu invited us to drink some local Green Sword Tea at one of the tea stands by the side of the trail, we were inspired to take the time to write a poem. In the shade of a red maple, with our glasses of green tea providing the fuel in the ancient way, a poem appeared. Part of our inspiration was the view of the path from our shady spot under the red maple, and part was the view we had of the stream slipping past us on the other side.
The path was at the edge of the stream, and all along the way we could watch the action in the water, where children used their nets and hands to see what they could find, like little Sherlock Holmes and Watsons. Sometimes the parents jumped in too, laughing and toting children too small to go alone.
In honor of the day, here is the poem:
To Zhuji beyond Hangzhou, where we,
Joining the flowing crowd of May through lake and mountain path,
Returned ourselves to the source.
Along Five Waterfall stream we swirled,
A parallel current to fish, salamanders, and minnows
To slip and dodge the big and tiny both,
Where snails, never fast enough, appeared in tiny fingers.
The immortal spring plunged through our midst
Some fell in, some drank the source,
To fill the green space in our hearts,
Old friends discussed which was spinning faster,
The children, falling bamboo leaves, or time?
And whether, if we returned another day
To this source of life, inspired, could we
climb its highest peak, and outwalk the farthest waterfall.
May Day, 2008