It was a bright and cloudless day, rare for the rainy spring weather of southern China. After my father parked on one of the larger roads the village had, we went on foot through the narrow winding alleyways that connected the different residences. Everything looked so quaint and peaceful compared to the busy city life I grew up with. Where there’d normally be blaring car horns was instead a comforting silence, broken only by the occasional chirping of birds. Rectangular houses with carved, slanted roofs stood on both sides of the street, connected by tiny courtyards filled with green tinted flower pots and different sized boulders.
Before we even went through the doorway separating two rickety houses, the clear trickling sounds of a river reached our ears. The cool air was permeated with the fresh,sweet smell of moss and strangely, incense. My confusion quickly dissolved when the sight of an aged temple greeted us at the foot of the bridge that crossed the water.
This little village, seemingly anachronistic, is JingZheGu. My parents and I were invited to visit by my mother’s art teacher. He had bought a tiny compound with a courtyard a while back and had furnished it with different elements he thifted. To him, and many of the other residents originally from Shanghai, this place is an escape from the pandemonium cities sometimes create. It is a place to drink tea(lots of it), write some calligraphies, and truly connect with nature. A place free from buzzing technologies and bright lights, where people still washed their clothes down by the river and sold homemade sweets outside of their doors.