STILL LAKE

  

In 2007, my grandma passed away. When I saw her, the person who loved me the most, lying quietly over the iron bed of the crematorium, I could not help crying. On the night of the first 7th night after her death, I saw her again, in a motel in Fengdu. After I woke up, I wanted to cry but I had no tears. Looking at the river outside the window, I felt as if the world had become silent. 

 

This was the first time I came to the Three Gorges. 

 

The place where scholars and literati used to express their filled with enthusiasm. 

 

The place which returned to tranquility after being noisy for such a long time. 

 

The Three Gorges have long been the means via which poets experience life. The gorge rivers, which integrate danger and beauty, attract them and lure them to explore, to adventure, and to roam about. 

Passion, boldness and generosity perhaps used to be a component of their memories. The remained peoms resemble the torrential river and precipitous gorge. They are the expression of their life in seclusion. The poets are so lonely that they could only sing and drink with the mountains and rivers, and experience the river-like continuity and growth of life in silence. This remains until the famous romatic poem, “Till a Still Lake Rises in the Narrow Gorges”, endows the Three Gorges contradiction and illusion, estrangement and resignedness again. The river, which is a symbol for life, is changed as per the requrements of nature; rivers turn into lakes, making the Three Gorges enter into a new era. 

 

The history coexists with the reality; the pride coexists with sadness.

 

But life continues, yes, life continues. We are so ordinary and small. We will experience joy, sorrow, happiness and confusion in life. We sometimes feel completely at loss about what have happened and what is about to happen, but we still need to live, even if life is changing every day. People in the reservoir of the three gorges are like us. They are busy with the battle against the environment and coping with the challenges of social economy. They are making a living with resilience and determination. 

 

During these three years, I had walked across the reservoir of the Three Gorges again and again. When I saw the river, the people and the conversation without an end, I felt that they were like the interlacing between clouds and dreams. I came upon them repeatedly. I took photos calmly, but in my mind, I felt as if something was going to to come out with great force. I experienced the emotions hidden within the quiet lake and the collision between human and life. These scenes seemed peaceful. The ordinary people seemed to be connected with me. They seemed to be far away while feeling so close. The only thing I could feel was the similar atmosphere. The loneliness surrounded by noise and the confusion in the disguise of quietness were similar to life itself. They gave out instinctive sounds. Their existence was eternal, just like the undercurrents under the peaceful river. And I had no clue as to where they flowed. 

 

Sixty years ago, a teenager who had just become mature stood at the head of the boat. The boat was heading toward the destination far away, a place with dreams and confusion. My father left his hometown, sailed out of The Three Gorges and went to Wuhan to study. This was the first time that he left his hometown--BaiSha Town, JiangJin District, ChongQing, a small town near Yangtze River. After many years, the Three Gorge Project was completed. This place, which is over 600 km from the dam, became the end of the reservoir of the Three Gorges. When I was young, they often told me that my native place was this small town, a place that was strange yet familiar to me. After taking photos of here for many times, i finally realized the meaning of this place to them. Our ancestors resided by the river. The river was not only the foundations for local people’s survival, but also carried their hope and dream. In 2008, next to the Yangtze River in FengJie, under the Immigrants’ Monument that was being demolished, an old man pointed at the direction of the river and told me that: “over there lies Shanghai, where the river meets the sea.” 

 

In 2009, in a foggy morning, in a nameless mountain, I was feeling the tranquility of the environment. The rising fog was spreading in all directions, making my vision blurred. The site felt like a soundless scene in the dream, so quiet, as if there was no content. I took a photo for Huanghuang, who was resting on a stone chair. That was the last photo taken in The Three Gorges during those three years. The silence was interrupted by the loud siren of the ship, causing an echo which penetrated the formless fog. That was a sign for a new journey, clear and fuzzy. In that year, Huanghuang became pregnant, and we had a new life.  

 

Ten years after that, our children has been 9 years old. I am no longer young and these photos are also placed there for ten years. When I view these pictures again, I am taken back to The Three Gorges, and I am re-transformed to the old me--confused and lost. However, life hasn’t rendered me an answer. It goes on in its own way. We still cherish our old dreams and are curious about the unknown future. “People can not step twice into the same river.” The humans and things that we met in the photo look at us at certain moments and bring us out of the reality. However, we are merely meeting us again, who follow our hearts and walk randomly. The STILL LAKE is like a mirror. It reflects people’s soul. It walks side by side with the life reflected by it and explores the meaning of life. 

 

The river still going on.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  



平湖

 

2007年,我的姥姥病逝。那个曾经最爱我的人安静的躺在火葬场的铁床上,隔着栏杆,我跪地失声痛哭。在她头七的那个夜里,在丰都的小旅馆里,我又见到了她。醒来后的我欲哭无泪,望着窗外的江面,一切那么的平静。

 

这是我第一次来到三峡。

 

曾经的文人墨客们挥洒激情的三峡。

 

喧嚣过后又再次归于平静的三峡。

 

三峡,一直以来就是诗人们体验生命的通道,险峻与秀丽并存的峡江吸引着他们去冒险,去探索,去流浪。激情与豪迈也许只属于曾经他们的记忆,留存的诗句就像那时湍急的江水和险峻的峡山,只是他们生命的潜藏,孤独的与山水对酒当歌,体会着生命如江水般的滔滔不绝生生不息。直到高峡出平湖,这句著名的浪漫憧憬再次赋予三峡矛盾与幻想,疏离与无奈。象征生命的流水顺乎自然的本性被改变,江成为湖。三峡进入新的时代。

 

历史与现实,骄傲与悲哀并存。

 

但生命总在继续,生活总要继续。我们又是如此的平凡与渺小,都会被生活赋予快乐、悲伤、幸福、迷茫。对已经发生的一切束手无策,对将要发生的仍然束手无策,只得继续生活,哪怕生活每天都在改变。三峡库区的人们和我们每个人一样,没有区别,人们忙着应付环境生存、社会经济的挑战,默默坚忍的活着。

 

三年里,来来回回反反复复,我一次又一次穿行在三峡库区。那江水,那些人,还有那些没有结果的对话,一切的一切就像云雾与梦的交错,现实又虚幻。我一次次和他们不期而遇,平静如水面般拍下照片,内心却暗流涌动。我体会着平静大湖之下隐藏的更多情绪,体会着多少人和事与生命的暗流激荡。这些看上去平淡的场景、平常的人们好像和我有着某种难以阐释的关联,恍惚如梦似乎遥远而又在场,能感觉到的唯有相似的气氛。那些被喧嚣包围的寂寞,和安静之下的迷惘,如同生命本身一样,低吟出本能的声音,就像平静江水下的暗流永远存在,不知道它将要流向何方。

  

六十年前,一个刚刚懂事的少年站在船头,船前行的方向是梦想与迷茫并存的远方。我的父亲背井离乡,出三峡,沿江而下去武汉求学。这是他第一次离开故乡,长江边的一个小镇,重庆江津白沙镇。多年以后,三峡工程竣工,离大坝六百多公里的这里成为三峡库区的最尾端。从小,我的籍贯那一栏总是填着这个对我陌生又熟悉的地方。这几年的拍摄,让我终于明白这条江对于他们的意义,先人们择江而居,它承载的不仅仅是人们乃以生存的基础,还有希望,还有梦想。2008年奉节的长江边,爆破后正在拆除的移民纪念塔下,一个老人指着江水流淌的方向告诉我,那边是上海,是江和海相会的地方。

  

2009年,一个有雾的早晨。一座不知名的小山上,周遭十分的安静。升起的雾气在四周扩散,视线逐渐模糊,就像梦里无声的场景,平静得似乎毫无内容。我为坐在石凳上休息的晃晃拍下了一张照片,那是在三峡这三年最后的一张照片。江边的轮船发出雄壮的汽笛打破了沉静,响彻峡江,回声飘散在虚无飘渺的薄雾中,那是即将启航的信号,清晰而又模糊。那一年晃晃怀孕了,我们拥有了一个新的生命。

 

十年了,我们的孩子已经九岁,我也不再年轻,这些照片一放也已经十年。重新翻看这些照片,那一幕幕画面再次把我拉回三峡,拉回曾经迷茫与困惑的自己。然而生活终究没有给出答案,依旧以它的姿态行进着,我们依旧执念,依旧对未知的生命充满好奇。人不可踏入相同的河流两次,就像照片里与我们相遇的人和物,在某个与我们连接的时刻相望,在模糊的瞬间将我们带离现实,而我们只是一次次去遇见那个随心而走的自己。平湖就像镜子,关照外境映出心灵,与那些面对的每个生命同行,探寻存在的意义。

 

江水依然流淌。