The weddings are over and gone.
On the afternoon of May 30 the Tao Tour
arrived in Qingdao and witnessed rows of wedding
cars parked on the roadside. I was eager to see
the newly-weds, but none of them were in sight.
In the meantime, dressed like brides and grooms,
the dolls on the hood of each car stood tall and erect.
Red wedding cars,
With fresh flowers of all colors and shapes;
Tying the knot between
Two ecstatic hearts.
One car, two cars, three cars . . .
Like birds lined up to form a bridge;
One row, two rows, three rows . . .
Like stars glittering in the galaxy.
Is it the Cowherd and Weaving Maid
rendezvousing under the Milky Way?
Or is it the lucky scholars
bringing home their fairy-maid wives?
Thrice the magpies break into song;
Willow branches sway in the breeze.
Pedestrians watch with smiling curiosity,
Tittering and gossiping to one another,
Longing to see the bride and groom
Emerge on their nuptial march
Who'd have expected
No newly-weds' faces
appeared from any of the cars?
Only on the hood of each vehicle
Did two dolls stand snuggled together:
The groom in a suit and tie,
The bride in her white gown.
Bùwáwá De Hūnlǐ
Wǔ yuè sānshí rì xiàwǔ,
dào zhī lǚ kǎochátuán dào
dá qīnɡdǎo, jiàn hūnchē chénɡ
pái tínɡkào lùbiān. wǒ ɡuānzhù
zhe xīnrén chūxiàn, xǔ jiǔ wèi
jiàn. shí yǒu bùwáwá ɡāo lì chētóu,
yǎnrán xīnlánɡ yǔ xīnniánɡ dǎbàn.
Hónɡsè hūnchē ,
Qiānzī-bǎitài de xiānhuā,
Jīdònɡ de xīn jǐnjǐn qiānɡuà.
Yīliànɡ èrliànɡ sānliànɡ…
Xiànɡ niǎor lièduì bǎ qiáo dā.
Yīpái liǎnɡpái sānpái…
Sì qúnxīnɡ huìjù,
Shǎn ɡuānɡ huá,
Shì niúlánɡ zhīnǚ xiānɡhuì yínhé xià?
Shì liúchén ruǎnzhào bǎ xiānnǚ zǎi huíjiā?
Xǐquèr chànɡle sānbiàn,
Liǔtiáor yínɡ fēnɡ pósuō.
Guò wǎnɡ hánɡrén hǎoqí ɡuǒzhe wēixiào,
Qīdài zhe xīnlánɡ xīnniánɡ,
Màichū nà qīnnì de bùfá.
Shuí zhī hūnchē lǐ,
Bìnɡ bú jiàn xīnlánɡ xīnniánɡ de liǎnjiá.
Wéi yǒu chētóu shànɡ,
Yīwēi zhe liǎnɡwèi bùwáwá.
Nán de yīwèi xīzhuānɡ-ɡélǚ,
Nǚ de yīwèi pīzhe hūnshā...
From May 21 through June 11, 1999, Charles Wu led a 24-member Taoist tour to China. "We visiting seven mountains, ten cities, and numerous temples, mostly Taoist, some Buddhist, and one Confucian. Throughout the tour we were accompanied by outstanding Taoist scholar, Professor Zhan Shichuang of Xiamen University, who shared with us his great wisdom as well as rich knowledge about the philosophy, history, and practice of China's native-born religion. I had the privilege of being his interpreter, and the two of us developed a great friendship emanating from a common qi field. On several occasions, after visiting an inspiring site, Professor Zhan's poetic creativity would be set ablaze and once back on the bus he would start composing a poem, which I would immediately or subsequently translate and read to the group."
On our way to the Chengdu airport to take the early morning flight to Qingdao, Professor Zhan told us on the bus stories about what makes one remember or forget the beautiful landscape of Sichuan. One of the stories has to do with two young scholars, Liu Chen and Ruan Zhao, who became enamored with some fairy maids and after marrying these unearthly beauties forgot about their beautiful homeland Sichuan. As we drove into downtown Qingdao from the airport, lo and behold, there were all these wedding cars blocking the traffic, this being an auspicious Sunday. Was it one of the professor's premonitions, or was it pure coincidence? By the way, the acronym for Qingdao airport is TAO, and our boarding passes say: "Destination: TAO." Now was that pure coincidence?!