Except as noted, all images copyrighted by and should be attributed to E. Bourland Hawley.
I had become many eons ago a traveling literary gnome, inquisitive about places I had and had not visited,
walking the same paths of peoples from the past, through places once grand and still grand,
photographing images that now show me the places about which I still dream . . .

Monday, May 28, 2007

Gnome Waves Good-bye.

Outside the silk shop, a leg-less young man on a wheeled platform played a gourd flute. His music drew me. I stood at a short distance from him, listening, not making eye contact, before walking closer to him, then sat down on the steps near him. Then I looked into his eyes, and he into mine. His eyes looked handsome and pretty, almond-shaped and almond-colored, striking for their beauty. His fingers busily played his flute. He occasionally looked up at me, then away, back at the ground. His tone changed after I sat near him and watched him; his music became softer, emotional, affectionate, perhaps even loving, like a musician melancholic for his lover. He saw me smile, and then changed his tune again to a jolly tempo. Suddenly he stopped playing, pointed to my vehicle, and spoke to me in Mandarin, his voice high-pitched. I can only assume he said to me: “Your car is here.” I gave him ten Yuan, and then left him. As we pulled away from the curb, I looked out the window. He looked up at me from his platform and waved. I waved back and wept.

Beijing, May 2007.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Last Day in China


Above, a photograph of my travel companion and her seven-month old baby. (Photo courtesy of Y.P.)
I will remember yesterday for as long as I live: It is special to hold a panda in one's lap. I smelled a sweet smell as I held my face near his ear, and the bamboo he decimated with his large incisors smelled as fresh as he did. The panda seemed more interested in the tender shoots that the caretaker handed to him, and yet, there seemed a certain contentment in being held by humans who could not love him any more deeply than we could feel for him and his species. And the panda seems an inept species, for they require the intervention of humans to survive and adapt to a world growing smaller. The Chinese people have stepped up to their task; I paraphrase Indira Gandhi: "The greatness of a nation is measured in how well it cares for the animals."

Friday, May 25, 2007

Reciting Ancient Chinese Poetry as an Answer

Mr. Weng Baopin, Director of the Han Yang Ling Museum showed over five hundred slides of artifacts found since 1989 at the excavation site. Enthralling, to say the least. Figurines dated since 188 - 141 B.C.E during the reign of the Han Dynasty emperor, Liu Qi. I asked him if among everything they had happened upon any literature. The moment the interpreter finished asking my question, Mr. Baopin began to recite a poem. It was delighfully musical and it had a sense of aggression and determination. Something else differed about it, but I couldn't tell what I perceived in it. Mr. Weng kept reciting it with no pause while the interpreter and I watched him. The first few lines contained the sounds "tong," "wong," and "chong;" in between I heard a melodic "tsing" and "ming." I lost my focus on the musicality of the recital because I began to feel anxious for a translation. Then Mr. Weng ended the poem and laughed. He said something to the interpreter, who then turned to me, laughingly, and said he could not translate the poem because it was in ancient Chinese. I felt enthralled to imagine an archaeologist memorizing the poetry he found in his digs.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Gnome in Xian


I watched the discoverer of the vaults that hold the army of 8,000 terra cotta soldiers. Today, he sits in the shop of the museum and signs his name hundreds, perhaps thousands of times per day for the visitors who buy the book about Emperor Qinshihuang's tomb. He hates photographs taken of him, and holds a fan up to obstruct his face from a lens. A bronze sign sits before him that in Mandarin and in English says NO PHOTOS. I noted that he concentrated on his task at hand every time he put his pen to the book, but then he tossed the book back at the visitor as soon as he finished signing it. Fame can become tedious and make one grumpy. He stood up, finally exhausted, and walked away. I watched him then, too, then reached into my bag for a pencil. I handed it to him. He looked at it curiously. Then he raised it in my direction, gave me a big smile, and extended his hand. I shook his soft hand hard, smiled back, then left him. I hoped, and still do this morning, that his smile remains for a while.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Gnome in SanFran.

Fabulous decorations at the Admirals Club in DFW Airport. That's Bryan sitting at left with his cell phone -- stuck to his ear. I don't know him. He paced around the group of lounge chairs nearby mine. If he wasn't dialing his phone, it was ringing. "Hi, this is Bryan . . . Hi, this is Bryan . . . Hi, this is Bryan." Busy guy.

My first photograph of this journey had to consist of art work of whatever kind. I liked the hanging on the wall above Bryan's head. I couldn't see it very well, but it seemed to have an oriental motif -- and how appropriate.
The grilled salmon at the Hyatt Regency on Bayshore Drive seemed ruinsously salty, but the veggies -- tender broccoli and asparagus -- tasted just right. The chef did a great job on those veggies; he must've run out of salt when he spilled it on the salmon -- haha. Later, I thought that a small dinner consisting of the Mondavi Cabernet, some Brie and the bread they serve here would have been wonderful for me, for here they bake their own bread -- and it's delicious. The only thing wrong here, aside from the excess salt on the salmon, is my Mr. Mallory's absence.
I phoned Mr. Mallory from the carousel at the airport in San Francisco. He told me that Portside had helped himself to Hodge's doggie meal, and was spoken harshly about it. Later, Portside came to Mr. Mallory, lay at his feet, and wagged his tail, as if trying to make ammends. It worked, naturally, and Mr. Mallory gave him many pats, and would have given him cookies, too, if he had known where to find them. I told him, "in the kitchen, under the clock, in the little glass thingey;" so Portside should receive a few cookies, maybe, at some point during my absence. He prefers them at bedtime. Portside is a connoisseur of doggy treats and could write a critique of his own.

Gnome on the Way

First leg to China: DFW Airport -- quick look at the artwork in Terminal D -- on my way to overnight in San Francisco. I tore myself away from Mr. Mallory, teary-eyed. A nice lady, Ms. Brown, let me tag along with her the Admirals Club. That was cool. Thanks, Ms. Brown! Hotspot and coffee; lovey email to Mr. Mallory, and quick start on this site.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Gnome on a Lake

Whimsical view of the regatta. Kerry guided a motorboat around the yachts. Very little wind today.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Sunday, May 6, 2007

Gnome on a Ship?

Do something nice for other Olympians!
This cruise will be a tremendous way for you to reacquaint yourself with fellow Olympians and to share in the Olympic Spirit. In addition, the cruise will be contributing a portion of the fare to the Olympians for Olympians Relief Fund (OORF) which helps Olympians who need our support. Please join us! I hope to see you on the cruise!

Sincerely,

Willie Banks
President,
U.S. Olympians

Gnome's melancholy has emerged, her heart has melted and her interest has peaked: Will pack swimsuit.

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Gnome and Vermejo

I have had unusual communications attempts with Vermejo. Often, for various reasons, they have left voice mails at my house; I return their calls -- and it's always been someone different, except Jenny, who has left voice mails twice -- to find a busy line, or an abrupt message on their end explaining that they are busy at the moment . . . then the message ends with no chance to record my message to them. The best way to communicate with them expeditiously, I have found, has been to email them after I have given up my attempts to return their phone calls. After Mera, the woman who receives my plaintive emails, relays my message to the caller, they then phone back and leave another voice mail. Then I try to phone them, meet with a busy signal or the "we're not here" message, so I email them back, and the cycle begins again. Questions are left in the voice mail system, and answers relayed by email. Playing phone tag/email has worked very well with Vermejo and me. This evening, as I steamed veggies and cod, sipped a crisp white wine and loved My Mr. Mallory's company, the cycle was broken; Vermejo finally found me at home. I spoke to Rebecca about my visit to nature, trout, beauty.
The other remarkable thing I've noticed thus far about Vermejo is the sweetness and general wonderfulness of the people (who have left voice mails), such as Jenny and Rebecca -- to whom I spoke this evening -- and Mera, who has received my emails. Jack seemed wonderful, too, but he left, I heard, to be wonderful somewhere else. I wish I could say to him, "Thank you," because he was, well, a wonderful staff-member to welcome my first call to Vermejo. Before Jack left, he sent me an envelope that contained a lovely map of Vermejo. I looked at it. I'm going to adore it there. I'm already thinking about which lenses to take with me. Maybe by then I will have found a great tripod to hold my camera while I record nature.

Let Lovely Turn of Phrase Begin

Give Me a Kiss to Build a Dream On

Listen, will you? I think that . . . literature, poetry, music and love make the world go round . . . while mathematics explains things; I fill my life with them, then go walking in snowy woods.
Let us go then, you and I
like two etherized patients floating
through life, together feeling prufrockian.
DDB Jr. makes my world go 'round; during his absence, Pachelbel fills it up.
One summer I sailed across the Atlantic Ocean, then through the Gulf of Finland to reach Saint Petersburg; I pursued Joseph Brodsky in its alley ways. I dream of making that two summers.
I read “Biking to Electra;” found my way in a Jaguar car, and glanced at the flashing steel grasshoppers at sunset. I’ll follow K.O.P.’s footsteps after he followed N.Scott Momaday’s; find warmth and inspiration on a rainy mountain.
Throw chinese coins for the I Ching.
Save the whales, the spotted owl, the woman in toil.
Cast a fly for trout; my memories of fly fishing under the sunny blue Colorado sky remain; I yearn to build more . . . with more trophy Browns.
Listen for the swan’s calls on the Baltic Sea. Feel KKII's joy, his arms spread wide in Yazilikaya.
Good night, Jimmy Durante, where ever you are.