Sunday, December 11, 2011

The Great Wall; Where Every Stone Has A History

The Great Wall winds around over mountains like a dragon, like an ancient river that has taken years to meander, like a fragment of the human brain that creates a symbol of war like no other.  The Dragon which is one of the celestial animals of the Chinese has been inspired by the sages who meditated while looking at cloud formations and somehow throughout the millenniums that form which was inspired from the clouds found true concrete form on earth like no other.  The Great Wall like its meandering body through forests, mountains, craggy peaks and even near oceans will cast a spell on you.

So what does the Great Wall have to do with my theme on "gates and doorways"?  The entire Great Wall itself is a multifaceted gateway.  It is a giant doorway that is constructed to lock out harmful influences.  It is also the longest cemetery or mausoleum in the world due to the countless workers who died of exhaustion and were buried there.  Like any cemetery it is a gateway into the afterlife.  The thought of having a family member buried somewhere in the Wall and not knowing is mentally problematic and from reading the history it seems many families had to endure that pain of having family members dying and buried somewhere along the wall but knowing where.  But if you can think of yourself as the current Warlord or Emperor the Great Wall was probably the only thing that was known at the time to keep enemies out therefore it was deemed necessary.  Whatever angle you are looking at the situation you will be moved by walking along the Great Wall. 

Let us not forget that the Great Wall was built mainly out of fear of the Mongols and Northern plain Chinese.  I believe the fear must have been terrible because just look at the effort used in building this wall.  I have a feeling not everything is told to us about what the Mongols actually did to cause this fear.  But after all of that the only emblem left at their capital city is a stone tortoise.  Amazing that a simple tortoise is connected to all that history.

Just think the Great Wall began before Christ and was repaired lengthened up until the Ming Dynasty (1500's).  Even the thought that something so colossal in both time, size and history is worth a trip and probably more than one. The Great Wall or should we say Great Wall(s), since it is not really one wall built at one time but was actually built and rebuilt and made longer by whoever the current general or Emperor was.  The Great Wall is not a "wonder" for its architectural beauty but it is a Wonder for 4 reasons; 1. The idea in building such a colossal thing 2. The amount of people that were used to build it (some say 500,000 and some say well into the  millions) 3. The countless bodies that are buried within the cement of the walls(fact) 4. The peacefulness today and the calm surrounding the walls today.  Though not an official "Wonder Of The World" I can say it is.  To stand on the wall and to look out and see this endless wall for as long as the eye can see generates multiple feelings all at once which are beyond words. I truly believe that only poetry, not movies or novels can describe the Great Wall for one reason;  It is something beyond imagination and the only "art" that can truly capture it is poetry or song because it is an epiphany after epiphany.   A premonition flashed though my mind as I was walking on the wall and staring out into the horizon;  one day all the sites for ALL  Nuclear weapon sites (open or covert) around the world will also one day become useless as means of defense as the Greta Wall is, the best they can hope for is to vie for tourist dollars. How many things of war are being used today which will only be tourist destinations one day? 

The Great Wall is truly "China".  Whether you imagine what it must be like to be either one of the workers, a warlord, a conquering Mongol Emperor or the Ming Emperor himself or just a warrior guarding the wall there are millions and millions of voices on the Great Wall.   So fabulous is the history behind the wall you wonder if it even happened.  The only other sites that have left me awestruck like this are those in India.  I feel that the Buddhist temples of Angkor will have the same effect on me.   But the Great Wall is more than a "Wow" experience and many do come just for that but for me it is a spiritual bonding with a one of the human species greatest attempts to defend itself against a terrifying foe.  To be here and to touch the stones and to walk up and down the wall is to connect with all those countless voices, to connect with an ongoing part of history that started since B.C.,it is worth a visit during ones lifetime. 

I used another camera to take most of the pics(much nicer) and I will upload them when I get the USB connection.