Thursday, April 25, 2013

Charleston where Time Pauses

I came back to Charleston for the second fixed-income conference. I lived in the same B&B and even the same room. From the moment I seeing Diane, the B&B owner, memories recovered. Hardly anything has changed from her side; both she and her puppy are as happy as before. But from my side, many things have happened over the past year. Everything in Charleston seems to serve as an anchoring point;  the house, the garden, the street, the lady in goat-sheep-cow store, etc, all remind me what I was yesterday and who I am today. The change flew away through fingers into silence. 


Time pauses in Charleston. After landing in the airport, my mind still carried all kinds of noises from New York. Yet chaos surprisingly disappeared when I started to rambling around historical houses. As last time (See Charleston Requiem), I stood under the window or in front of the garden gate, contemplating the life of those I never met... Time freezing in cobweb, offers me an escape from the present.




(Charleston Mule Company)

Recalling my first two years in NYC, I frequented cultural events like concerts, operas, dances, and art shows. The record ever was attending ten Carnegie concerts in a month. Nowadays, I have gradually found the 'fire in belly' and prefer to focus on one or two things in my life. 

Cultural event for me is no longer a series of activities, but rather an altitude and a sentiment. It could happen anytime and everywhere
It could be the shadow of oak tree leaves on a plain wall.


Or a bronze crab decorated in the garden jar, viewed through the iron gate...


Or a fountain with Roman lion heads through the gate.


What I enjoy is to retrieve the lost moment, which has been squeezed out by errands, tasks, and endless deadlines. On  a tipsy Spring afternoon,  I was delighted by feeling the breeze through the alley of houses.  

Often in life, what is lovely and beautiful is not necessarily to be one single point, but the ambience and sentiment around that point. It could be a life style or things filtered through time. 

We might not be a designer or an artist, but we could be a being to live our lives with the attitude of art.


Photography wasn't about aperture or shutter speed, focal length or white balance. Believe it or not, I know little about photography technologies. A good photo for me is straight, simple and from the heart. With love and compassion, you can have a dialogue with any being in the world. And camera is the recorder.

The journey was short with less than two days. Yet every moment counted and I was full of appreciation, to junior peers of Jack, Marco, Hitesh and Jens who motivated me by their diligent productivity, to wall street veterans of Rick, Jared, Michael for their real-world insight, to old friends of Jean and Hong, and so on. I remember the night Allen and his wife invited me and Matt for a wonderful dinner. I trekked through thunderstorm to get to the restaurant. After the dinner, rain and wind stopped. It was such a tranquil and beautiful Spring night! I strolled in the alleys of old houses, seeing a garden with blossom petals on green slates. It reminded me of Hakuin Ekaku: with the night deeper and darker, I wish you could listen to the sound of snowflakes (petals) falling on the ground...

                                   ---白隐禅师(Hakuin Ekaku)


Photographed by Jennie Bai.
Copyright ©Jennie Bai. All Rights Reserved.

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