and fast pace of the city (the swift current of this life unfortunately made
this blog a little late, too). Four families met at a bustling Guiyang street
corner and were led out of the city and through the familiar twists and turns
of the Guizhou countryside. Our destination: a Confucius Farm.
We found just such a place, a grouping of traditional architecture situated in the middle of
rice paddies, hot pepper fields, and orchards. Inside the gate, schoolrooms,
noted for the numerous shelves of books and pamphlets all related in way or
form to Confucius thought, teachings and history, circled the inner courtyard
garden. A tower stood in the middle. The top floor of the tower contained a
circular library with a desk in the middle. The coat thrown over the chair
suggested its daily use. How interesting to witness this treasure of classical
Chinese wisdom, removed from the modern symbols of life, as if instantaneously
walking back in time!
But this treasure was only the starting place for our Family Nature Club. The President
Luo Hai (罗国淮), also the Schoolmaster for local
village children, kindly escorted us around the outside farm and village
premises. Along the way our families could reconnect with the fresh air,
organic scents of soil (granted sometimes manure too) and vegetation, plot
after plot of future grains and vegetables to fill our dinner tables. The
children, too, found numerous critters, big and small. A ladybug held as much
interest as the water buffalo rocking in the mud. And the kids could run
freely, which eventually translated to a quiet nap in the car on the way home.
Whether I’m coaching myself, or trying to encourage other parents, right now I am shouting
(imagine an American cheerleader), “Get out there! Get out, move out- there’s a
beautiful and interesting world out there!” Already we’ve entered July and I
find myself enveloped by daily distractions that just don’t compare, frankly,
with the joys I believe can be found in nature; Especially with exploring
nature with my children. What are the distractions? Yes, many are related to
our livelihoods, work, and commuting, shopping for and preparing meals. But
there is also the Internet, the comforts of a sofa, ever more comfortable after
a long commute, DVDs or television shows. Is it possible to blend the
lifestyles? Ironically, this is just the question the Taoists asked the
Confucists a couple thousand years ago. And that can be another subject!
To find out more about the Confucius Farm (in Chinese), visit http://www.gzyzsy.com/about.asp.