Cold Mountain

A bike ride through the mountains. The winter snow has stopped only a few days before. 

A week after it snowed I took a bike ride through the mountains. These mountains connect city with countryside. They are quiet mountains. Long have people lived in their valleys. The bamboo is alive. The birds sing during sunny days. The brooks still babble. This is how you tell people have not destroyed the spirit within the mountain. 

After snow the air feels clean. The lake seem clearer. The surface of the road weaved by dry and wet patches. The air is cool and the riding is good. The road has carved through the mountain. Where the water streams from between the rock is now ice. Sheets of ice remain where the sun has not touched them. 

The village is quiet apart from a few vegetable vendors. Too cold for idlers to waste time outside. Climbing higher the roofs come into view. Each house fitting close to its neighbor. The roofs nestled together take on the appearance of a glacier. A sheet of civilization eroding the mountain valley.

Reaching the mountain crest there lies a small temple. The monks find solace in this sanctuary. They find the remaining snow unnecessary. The entrance guarded by Shen Lu and Yu Lei. Ancient door gods. Clad in their ancient armor. They stand watchful to the passing cycles of nature. Their symbolism never changing. 

The bamboo is fresh in this season. Winter brings bamboo root. Still too young to puncture through the earth it will remain underground until spring. The late afternoon brings the most thaw in the ice sheets. The ice drips onto the rock. Drip and drip they never stop. These little drums are hard to hear. They drip regardless.