Friday, November 18, 2005

For some reason, I originally posted the previous message with a future date of November 19th, although it was really posted on the 16th. It has now been changed to reflect the correct date. I can only think of two reasons for the mishap. I was posting it from work and using a Chinese computer in which everything was in Chinese and, thus, couldn't verify the date. The other reason: I was still in a weakened delirium from five days of illnesses and didn't possess the wherewithal to check such detail. Needless to say, I'm operating at 100% and back to my relatively meticulous ways...

It has turned quite cold and icily so here in recent days. Returning to work a few days ago in a bright sunshine, after nearly five days roaming around in pajamas without leaving the apartment, I noticed a small grove of trees and bushes along the side of the road completely coated in sparkling ice; little spikes of ice pointed up from the earth covering the grass like sharp teeth, icicles hanging dripping from the branches, a steaming scene of winter. It was surreal and out of place as nothing else in the vicinity matched its frozen appearance. I wished another English-speaker was in the car with me so I could say: "Look!" Everything at about chest level was covered with a clear melting layer of ice and everything above that was untouched as if the small grove had been picked up, dipped in water and then set out to freeze. A magical gift of the season from the Beijing municipality. For a moment, I had a romantic notion of Christmas and the oncoming holiday season which, in this country, is difficult to fathom as it's simply not celebrated. I guess someone had left the sprinklers on overnight.

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