My Taiwanese Family has a cousin who is a Chinese Medicine Doctor.Though his English is slow-coming, I've enjoyed lengthy conversations each time he comes round to visit. We talk of his trade, and how he doesn't like to work a lot. He likes to enjoy life. When he discovered I had studied various Martial Arts, he told me his line of work teaches him to see Chi. This excited me to no end, and he's promised our next conversation will be in the aspects and application of Chi. When I told him I also enjoy writing, I thought briefly of this blog. Now, when he sees me, he asks if I'm working on my book yet.
One of our first conversations, he spoke of his slow-paced life. His cadence and tone authenticated his words. He said "While I was in School for Medicine, they taught us of Da-rwin. I do not like Da-rwin. He said 'The stonger man wins,' that 'society is getting better,' but I look around, and I don't see that." I understood. The Medicine Doctor continued, "I like Ye-su. He taught be kind to the poor man. Give to the poor man." To me, these were strong, unsolicited words for a Taiwanese Buddhist. I told him if I were ever to write my book, I want it to be filled with conversations like this.
In a global culture that says "More = a better life" he consciously pursues simplification. Successful in his career, the Doctor purchased the side of a mountain to make as his Retirement Home. Nearly untouched now, he plans to spend the next ten years preparing the grounds of his future home.
Today, the family and I met him at his mountain side for a picnic. Resolved to enjoy our excursion, we decided to ignore the fog and drizzle and make the most of what we had. The doctor brought out a hatchet and saw and within a couple minutes, we had a fire blazing from the dried brush and fallen bamboo we could uncover from the foilage.
It was a great way to spend the afternoon. A fair chance to open my lungs outside the Taichung smog, and touch nature again. There was a peace in our landing. I could see what attracted him to the mountain-life. It brought back the best of memories from my years as a Scout. I couldn't help but wonder if that's how it's supposed to be. Less city and smog. Less of "More". Living off the land, and relying on one's resources for sustainability.
I didn't come to a conclusion. Regardless, it was a welcomed break from the concrete-familiarity.