Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Separated at Birth?

Have you ever been one place and suddenly thought you were someplace else for a second? Something about the way a road curves, or the light falls will occasionally make me think so much of someplace else that I get disoriented.

No, it’s just me? Oh dear. Well, anyway, one of those things happened to me in Southern California over the weekend. I was on the street pictured in yesterday’s post, looking at the hills in the photo. I think they are in Pacific Palisades. The hills could be further north than that—I’m not sure, but it doesn’t really matter. The important thing is that I’m certain they aren’t in northern China, but just for a second, I thought I was. Something about the hazy light, and the green, jagged peaks made me expect to see the Great Wall snaking along the ridgeline. I had one of those “whoa” moments. Then I felt my car keys in my pocket, and Pipi said something, and I saw the Italianate mansions along the street, and I was back in California.

Everyone I mentioned my moment to that day thought I was a little nuts. I won’t directly dispute that, but I do submit the above photo as evidence that like a stopped clock, I am sometimes right.

Today’s photo was taken last summer at the Simatai section of the Great Wall, a few hours outside of Beijing. I’m glad I dug it up. It’s not the greatest photo of the Wall ever taken, but I can see what threw me. The hazy light, the muted greenery, the intimidating stone architecture…it’s all there in both photos. (Which comes as a great relief to me—even I was starting to wonder how I got China on the brain.)

No comments: