Yesterday’s AQI was a crisp, cool 60. So instead of being cooped up in my room, I decided an outdoor excursion was definitely going to help with the foul mood I woke up with, especially since the gym was closed and I had no way to sweat out my frustrations with my graduate thesis.
It turned out to be the best decision of the day.
I grabbed some dumplings from a local vendor, and headed to one of my favorite places on campus: the Quiet Garden or (静园).
Placing myself under a web of yellow leaf shade, I looked around. There were one or two of my compatriots who were scattered here and there, on a rock, by a tree, catching up on work like I was about to do. With one last appreciative glance around my beautiful crisp surroundings, I lowered my head and began to do the main occupation of my studenthood: academic reading.
An hour later, soft murmurs of human voices pulled me out of my reading bubble. It was lunchtime, and I saw that my compatriots of this garden has grown. Small groups of friends, mostly in twos and threes, were littered across the flat grounds.
In the far corner, some garden workers had begun manicuring the plants and scrubbing at the fallen leaves.
To my right, a couple was fast asleep under the noon sunshine, heads comfortable cushioned by their backpacks, hands intertwined and eyes closed, dreaming of the one next to them. A group of German students across the other side of the field laughed as one of them chased down the volleyball sped away from them.The distant sound of a girl reading into a recorder, a Chinese novel about village life, reaches my ears.
To my left, a foreign student has black bike parked beside him, his back leaned against the trunk of a small tree, mind racing as he takes in the wisdom of the book in his hands. A group of four, two Chinese and two foreign students, is engaged in a wonderful little mid-afternoon cultural exchange.
The little winding path beside me welcomes passerbys deeply engaged in their secret conversations, few words of which reaches my ears as they walk pass me. Some onlookers snap pictures, moments, instances of this entire micro-universe.
Then the wind blows through my hair and carries the sound of my typing, along with some feather-light gold to faraway places. And I am back to being a dreamer.