Worlds Up-tended

Apparently just over two hundred years ago, Hong Kong Island was home to a band of pirates who robbed the big vessels sailing through the channel to the south. On the peak of the mountain, a red flag would be hoisted to signal danger, police ships, and a green flag when the coast was clear, ready go rob and plunder.

The very peaks of the Lung Fu Mtns with Kennedy Town in foreground. Hong Kong Island.

This lore we learned sitting on the very quiet cool mountain itself where the flag was raised in not so ancient but entirely different times, having tea with a few old guys who are there nearly everyday of the week. They remarked to themselves the rapid development they have seen: the buildings that sprung up 4 stories tall, then replaced by 10 story buildings, then 25, now monstrous 50-80 story buildings penetrate the landscape. And these few old men hang on to a small garden in the mountains where they can go for tea.

One friend they affectionately referred to as ‘Master of the three peaks’, lived in a bunker above the cemetery. A hermit dwelling, rich with attentive unhurried living. Fragments of broken candelabras with rows of angels graced the entrance of the obscure trail to his bunker. When we earlier that day stumbled unexpectedly upon it on a walk, a fire still burned in the outdoor earthen hearth where noodles were recently prepared. We wondered who this Chinese Christian hermit could be.

While we sat having tea, the mystery of the hermit solved, he sat in front of us, humble and content and his friends teased him affectionately, that his god, Jesus, was not nearly as old as the Chinese medical system. We learned how to respond with thank you in cantonese when someone has done something for you. I marvelled once again at the beginning of this long journey ahead of us, and how the worlds we are drifting through are all varying degrees of slow and fast growth upon this massive geology.

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