Along the canals in Dongzhimen, after yoga. This part of Beijing is good for walking because there is a network of canals. Unfortunately they are mostly torn up at the moment – even stretches that seemed fine last year are now dry rockbeds, full of equipment and awaiting, I assume, the huge black drainage pipes stacked along the road. The canals are lined with mature weeping willows that have just leafed out. I love springtime tree branches veiled with green. I was sad about missing springtime in New York, but indeed I am enjoying springtime in other places – and things are much later in Great Barrington so I’ll be home in time for the daffodils.
There’s such a gentle rhythm to Chinese life on the back streets. Men talking and stretching. Older men turning yellow exercise wheels in a tiny park. Men here and there doing tai chi. Little dogs running about, one with a ring of bells around its neck. A woman was doing tai chi along the canal and had somehow hung her bag and jacket on a tree trunk. Do people pound in hooks in their favorite spots? There were people in all kinds of dress – dark suits, white uniforms – queued up at a truck. They had papers in their hands and seemed quite cheerful about waiting. Some kind of health service for hotel workers, I guessed. The truck was army camouflage.