When they say a picture is worth a thousand words…it is true.
But sometimes pictures just don’t do it justice, so exactly how many words is it worth?
As I previously mentioned, I stayed the weekend in Jiuzhaigou, which means Valley of the Nine Villages.
The brief legend behind the place is that a young man fell in love with a goddess, who was very beautiful. He wanted to give her a gift that would be above all others, so he brought her a mirror made of wind. However, as with many tales, there was an evil demon that wished to get in the way of their romance, so he broke the mirror. Out of the shards the 141 lakes of Jiuzhaigou were formed.
It was in this place that strangers came together in a moment of serendipity to simply have a human moment. A moment in which we acknowledged that the world is so much bigger than we are, and that our momentary wants are petty in light of this beautiful world we inhabit. We heard the heart of a local man who protects beautiful places, cares for orphans and weary travelers, and reminds people that reality is not lived through technology, but through experiences.
Capturing this in words is difficult, but I tried.
If you haven’t noticed, I enjoy writing. One of my favorite things is descriptive writing, which I do not practice as much as I would like. However, this weekend was enough to stir art inside the soul of most people. I am no different.
So, please enjoy the effort made at capturing only one of the many moments of this weekend. Otherwise, enjoy the photos! 🙂
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The sun crept over the jagged horizon dusting the topmost peaks with the rosy glow of a newborn. However, I knew better. Those wizened heights were welcoming a new day for perhaps the millionth time. We could do nothing more than marvel at the magnificence until it was time to turn our backs on the view and leave. Clambering into the beige sedan for the last time we inwardly said farewell to the beautifully colored Tibetan gate of the hotel. Barely three days had passed, but it felt so much longer. We set off, a tangle of legs and backpacks, only to stop for our driver to shoo a dog away from the danger of a passing truck.
Meanwhile the morning graudally slid into the valley like a golden blanket, making a welcomed change from the persistent overcast of the day before. However, we could not be allowed to enjoy the sun in Jiuzhai Valley this day. Swiftly, expertly our driver navigated traffic, bringing the end of the journey nearer as we approached the bus station. The four of us had committed to the nine hour drive back to the city days before. That was before we knew the enchanting spell of Jiuzhaigou. Before we knew the soul of the people who love this place. Before we knew that we would be subtly changed by our time here.
Our driver, and now friend helped us to get our bags out of his trunk, then shook each of our hands in turn. Brief exchanges of “see you next time” were said before we hurriedly made for our bus. It seemed to be leaving without us. After a few seconds of trying to flag it down, we turned around to see our actual chariot. Quietly it sat, waiting for both late-arriving travelers such as ourselves and eight o’clock. As much as we were secretly hoping for it to happen, we were not going to be stranded in the valley.
Within minutes the bus was packed, the engine roared to life as though informing the road ahead that it was ready to complete its nine hour mission.
Little by little we snaked our way through the valley mirroring each bend of the river’s rushing white rapids, all the while the golden flood streaming in behind us. Outside the misty windows tourists bustled to the magical waters tucked within the shelter of the mountains, flapping their arms to keep warm against the below freezing temperatures. Pleasantly, the sun shone down on their trek, as if eager to put on a show. However, the next turn threw the winding path into shadow revealing construction vehicles, men in dirty clothes with pick axes, and a multitude of partially constructed buildings wrapped in skeletons of bamboo scaffolding. One day they would be huge resorts with the purpose of luring more disrespectful tourists to the banks of the jeweled lakes. This is the darkness that lies in wait in the Valley of the Nine Villages. How appropriate that they should lurk in the shadows, hiding from the age-old radiance of the morning sun.
As if to make an attempt to subdue the progress and prominence of such worldly blemishes, a soft layer of snow had settled on the welcoming branches of the evergreens and bare trees alike, giving them new life. Even the sharp features of the mountains were even more regal cloaked in the pure white mantel of first winter. Above, the sky was a cloudless canvas of brilliant blue, creating a backdrop for an already incredible view. Together, they created a collage of majesty. They stood stoic, dynamic, and quite unperturbed by the mess created by humans who foolishly think they can contribute something to what is already breath-taking, awe-inspiring, and mystical.
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Until next time!