Today, I walked around the Red Park for awhile. I was surprised to see that the lake had frozen. Now it's littered with bricks and rocks tossed to test the ice. It was cold, and there were few people there. All the businesses that normally sell eight treasure tea inside had shut down for the winter.
In spring I often spend my mornings in one of the painted, open-air corridors, sharing the early light with peonies and fresh yellow buds on trees that, before coming here, I had only seen in dreams. I sip tea (whose eight treasures are some dried mix of the following: bright red fruits the shape of raisins, dates, dragon eyes, jujubes, and flowers), and leave an empty notebook in front of me. I can only rarely think of anything to write--my time there is more of an emptying than a search.
One thing that I appreciate is how life is cyclical here. It looks drastically different in the winter and summer. I love the first day that those small winter clementines appear. The winter squashes that follow. The first day you can go to the park and bear a whole early spring morning in the cold. The fleeting summer mulberries, just like the ones that purpled our young feet in Knoxville summers. The first sweet taste of strawberries. I love when the square starts filling up with people again at night. And then I love, in its own way, when these things disappear. When the whole world turns back to waiting. To sleep. To tapping its watch, making sure the seconds are still ticking by.