To wrap up my year, I decided to choose one picture from each month of my phone’s 2015 camera roll. When I actually sat down to do it, it wasn’t so easy. Do you choose your favorite picture, or a picture of your favorite day, or a shot of something you still laugh about now, months later? And it’s different choosing a picture now versus what I may have chosen months ago. Our memories change. Our emotions change.
These twelve pictures were clicks on my phone. So fast. They were simple and memorable and perfect in their own way. That’s what moments are. They add up to the hours of our days, and the days of our months and years. Sartre compared moments to little diamonds. Aren’t they though? Some small, some big, some you’ll never have … some brilliant, some rough, all perfect in their own way.
It’s good to look back as we set intentions for the new year. There are important people and important things that happen in our lives every single day. It is about those big goals we set in front of us, and it’s about the little things too. The lovely perfect and not-so-perfect things. It is about the things we looked forward to, and those we never intended on, never planned on, never knew would come. It is about the every day, and how we live each moment.
“She smiled and said with an ecstatic air: “It shines like a little diamond”,
“This moment. It is round, it hangs in empty space like a little diamond; I am eternal.”
― Jean-Paul Sartre, The Age of Reason
“If the whole world I once could see
On free soil stand, with the people free
Then to the moment might I say,
Linger awhile. . .so fair thou art.”
― Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Faust: First Part
Having just returned from an epic American road trip, and having traveled to Beijing and Shanghai in June, I can’t seem to write about anything but the building under construction out my window. This enormous curiosity has boggled my mind for months now. At this point, it seems a blemish on the skyline, and it certainly distorts my view of the river. But every day I watch with fascination. I see the massive cranes, the gigantic metal tubes, the tiny ant workers walking precariously to and fro. And when they weld into the nighttime hours, it’s like a fireworks show.
Pan told me that it will be a business center, for offices, etc. I tried to spread a rumor that it was an amusement park, or maybe I should tell people it is the Birds Nest II. Oooh, our very own Water Cube. I’m trying to imagine what the facade will be. Or maybe that is the facade and now they’ll construct the building inside. Stay tuned.
As I write this, I can see someone welding while protecting himself from the typhoon rains with a blue tarp. That’s nothing new though. Another Shenyang expat posted a picture a couple of weeks ago of a welder protecting himself from rain with a cardboard box.
Maybe I’m mislabeling by calling it a monstrosity. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. But it is abnormal, an oddity, a bit of a freak in its own right. That’s probably why I like it.