You ask me why I live in the blue-green mountains;
I smile and do not answer, my heart is at leisure.
Peach blossoms flow downstream and far away;
There is another heaven and earth, beyond the human world.
Questions and Answers in the Mountain
by Li Bai
A single dirt road twists straight up along the mountainside. A man in a worn leather jacket buys oranges from a farmer on the side of the road. His home is a Dong ethnic minority village in the province of Guizhou, China.
The young children run down the street and play in the mountain fields while the adults work around the village. When it’s time to eat, their parents call out their names. At night, they sleep and dream.
Much of their cultural beliefs originate from the beauty of nature and living among nature. Their culture is also carried through music. Music is passed down from generation to generation which spans over eight generations deep. There are songs about the changing seasons, observations of nature and love.
Singing can provide a career for a very select few. Farming provides most of the local income and food. Education can help guide some, while others chose to migrate for work. Many have chosen to migrate to the eastern coastal region of China to work in factories and labor, particularly in the province of Zhejiang. The story of migrant workers that have contributed to the economic rise of “Made in China” reverberate throughout the landscape. The mass migration has also caused many of this generation to leave their traditional life behind and assimilate into the modern world. Outside of their roots of the mountain village in Guizhou, the next generation try and find their way in life.
From that initial encounter with the man buying oranges over 10 years ago, my wife Dana and I have shared a meaning life road with the residents of the village high in the mountains of Guizhou. This series is dedicated to them with much love and respect.
Guizhou and Zhejiang provinces, China