Monday, February 9, 2009

Dragons in the street

Image of a Chinese New Year Dragon writhing in the night around hapless dancers, Kowloon, 2009.Dear Gentle Reader,

Chinese New Year, and the Spring Festival, ended over a week ago.

It has taken me this long to find the courage to relate what I saw that night.

Brace yourself for panic; see that picture?

Feel the fear of the people being swept up in the sinuous curves of a dragon who will swiftly collapse their bodies and consume their souls...

You see, Chinese dragons come out to play on Chinese New Year.

Some people are birders. Oh, to belong to such a safe group (unless you are seeking the roc, like that heroic twitcher, Sinbad, who went to tick the roc off his list (the roc was the original mega-bird) but was picked off, himself, instead. Sinbad's story has been tragically misunderstood, but I digress.)

Your humble scribe observes dragons in their natural environment, the crowded streets of Hong Kong.

I kept myself a few floors above the head of the great beast.

Here you can see its glowing eyes and horns...

Image of a the head and body of a Kowloon Dragon, spotted in Kowloon, Hong Kong at the close of the Spring Festival, 2009.
Yes, I know it is a bit shaky.

I was twitching, in terror.

Dragons, after all, are avaricious, pernicious, cunning, and vastly powerful.

Venom pumps through their arteries; deceit curdles in their veins.

I had long been told, and read repeated warnings in ancient tomes, to never look a dragon in the eye(s) (Cf. The Hobbit, for example).

See how those eyes glow? Those are not eyes I would willingly look into.

No wonder they can see right through a man, and gaze clean into his soul... They must have x-ray eyes or something. Maybe meta-ray eyes? Whatever.

This dragon, fortuitously, did not fly, at least not high.

It had corralled menfolk on the street, and was spinning round and round them, mesmermising them.

It was playing with them, as a cat plays with a butterfly or a songbird.

Image of a Kowloon Dragon, winding his body around luckless Chinese, caught up in its gaze at the close of the Spring Festival, 2009, in Kowloon, Hong Kong.
As you can see, this dragon not only went around these men and women in circles, he (she? I was not about to check, would you?) also spins above citizen's frightened heads and even below their terrified feet as they jump to get away.

The proof is in that photo.

The concierge in my building tried to calm me down, the next day, by telling me that these were not unwilling victims who were simply corralled by the dragon.

The concierge told me that members of some Chinese social groups, fraternal societies similar to the Freemasons or the Rosicrucians or the Elks, actually train to dance with the dragons.

Or something like that.

This might be true, I cannot say for sure.

I suppose this could be an über-dangerous version of running with the bulls in Pamplona, Spain...

But, then the concierge started to tell me that nobody was injured, and that this was all for fun. Hah!

I know what I saw.

Image of a Kowloon Dragon, crushing his victims with his body prior to swallowing them whole, observed at the close of the Spring Festival, 2009, in Kowloon, Hong Kong.I saw death, destruction, and despair as the bodies were swept up in the beast's ferocious coils.

That was the dragon's dance.

And he only left when the lion's came to rescue everyone, but that is for another post.

I am too shattered, just recalling that night.

Welcome to my town, your scribe sardonically mutters, as he backs into his apartment building, looking carefully around him...

Tschuess,
Chris, Regina, and a frantic Pommes wondering who will remove shed fur, fill up the water tank, and provide treats and eats if the scribe is eaten by a dragon

26 comments:

debra said...

So glad you survived the terror, Chris. The photos are wonderful.
Courage.

Barbara Martin said...

I understand the Qilin, similar to a dragon, has fire all over its body and punishes only the wicked. Surely you might call upon one of these to protect you, Chris.

gautami tripathy said...

What a dragonic moment!

BTW, I invite you to ride the Poetry Train being run each Monday. Hope you like the ride!

Sepiru Chris said...

Debra,

Me too, although the psychic scarring runs deep...

Barbara,

Let he who is without blame cast the first stone... How am I to know what the Qilin considers wicked...

I might lead out of the frying pan into the flames...

Gautami Tripathy,

It was. Thank you for your invite. I have contributed. (Twice... can you delete the first entry with a non-functioning link?)

Tschuess,
Chris

Reb said...

Bravo! Thank you for finally telling the truth about dragons. I knew they were real, but people just kept assuring me they weren't. ;)

Heidelweiss said...

Truly horrifying. I'm just glad you didn't leap from your window in a moment of terror ;). MUST reinsert brain back into skull. You did say that bike was in Beijing. Oops! Tell that concierge that we all know he's a filthy liar ;).

Cloudia said...

"Your humble scribe observes dragons in their natural environment, the crowded streets of Hong Kong."

Chris, you have magic in your thoughts and words! I love your posts. Dragons (I am assured) are beyond creaturely male and female. They are pure energy! The commoner folk think the dragon a gentleman, and the phoenix his lady (hence the motif.) I too spotted one of these terrors in Honolulu's Chinatown a while back and posted an image of the creature "sleeping." www.comfortspiral.blogspot.com (Honolulu Chinatown post)

But I did take a shot almost as terrifying as yours above. I have withheld it till now in the interests of the ladies and gentler readers, but perhaps I shall e-mail it to you direct. I WILL put ample warning in the subject line: "Look Away!" But you can file it away for your future possible scholarly or forensic use. Aloha brave friend!

Sepiru Chris said...

Reb,

Its not finally, Reb. I have always told the truth. Hence the pictures, they never lie...

Heidelweiss,

I was more than ossified, I was petrified--therefore I could not leap. Fear saves. That sounds like a tribute to old-time revival damnation sermons. Maybe grace saved, through the mechanism of fear.

Cloudia,

No sex?... ...And yet you plainly sent me the image of a dragon pup's sloughed off skin, hence proof of some sort of creation process.

I had always thought of dragons as unadulterated magic and dream, but maybe what you say has some sense to it. I will reflect...

Also, thank you very much for the images which you sent along. Much appreciated.

Tschuess,
Chris

Junosmom said...

We do not have dragons in Kentucky to my knowledge. We do, however, have a Chinese population that I did not know about. At a recent concert given with our orchestra, a young Chinese pianist played. As the seats filled, we were amazed at the number of Chinese people. You have to understand this is Kentucky, and out of all the people I know, two are Chinese, and only because they take piano lessons where my daughter does. Otherwise, I would not probably know them as they don't live in my county. Still, perhaps there is an area where the Chinese live here, and perhaps they could tell me if they've seen a Chinese dragon (or Kentucky dragon if they exist) in the neighborhood.

Merisi said...

You oughta get the Great Tale of the Year Award! :-)

Sepiru Chris said...

Junosmom,

I look forward to the results of your research.

Two pieces of advice.

(1) Wear asbestos garments (over and under, just to be safe).

(2) Do not look directly in the eyes. Mediate your gaze (of the fearsome beast) through a camera.

Good luck.


Merisi,

But if I were to have grabbed that tail, wouldn't I have ended up with a head.... (Dem eyes... demise...)

Tschuess,
Chris

pattinase (abbott) said...

Dragons are especially beautiful if ferocious.

bindu said...

Sounds like scary stuff! Glad there were no incidents. I wonder why I didn't read about this in the papers. Do the dragons control the press too, now?!

Clare2e said...

You made me twitch, in terror, contemplating the deceit curdling in their veins. Nicely done.

Barrie said...

What? There really are dragons? How am I always the last to find these things out? What about the Loch Ness? Don't tell me he's real too! (Fun post!)

Linda McLaughlin said...

Loved your post, Chris. Delightful and magical, despite your obvious terror at facing such a fearsome beast. Happy New Year!

The Weaver of Grass said...

If that Pommes can take photographs then if the Scribe is eaten by a dragon then Pommes can take over the rotten jobs around the house too.
PS Thanks for the instructions re 3WW - am trying to follow them!

Lauren said...

I've always wanted to see a Chinese New Year Dragon! Thanks for sharing a photographic one.

Travis Erwin said...

I admire your bravery.

Sepiru Chris said...

Pattinase,

Anytime you escape peril the preciousness of life is appreciated a bit more and one tendes to "accentuate the postitive" more, so yes, their beauty is magnified...


Bindu,

Interesting question. Indirectly, yes. I do not think that dragons control the press through stock holdings, but I think it is a matter of fear. Reporters who try to take pictures get eaten, hence reporters do not try to take pictures.

I was foolish and lucky...


Clare2e,

Mission accomplished. Thank you. I twitched, in interest, seeing the convention you reported upon...


Barrie,

I'm trying to determine if you belong to the secret society of dragon watchers, by your wording, or if you are simply felicitous in your phrasing...

Well there are four elements, why would there not be four dragons... And the Loch Ness variety a water dragon...

All I can say is that all is not clear, when you stand at Port Claire. Its not place to go wading in the waters...

And the water around Urqhart Castle... very murky... very dangerous...

As the old saying goes amongst dragon watchers...

Drink whisky, neat,
'ere you enter D. Loch's water thick with peat...

(What do your think the D. stands for... Do you think it is merely a transcription error meant to accomodate a slurred version of "the"? Or something else...)

What I can, of course, share is that the rest of that quote refers to the anaesthetising aspects of alcohol. If your legs are to be bitten off by a-- oh... I have said to much. Next commentator...


Linda,

Thank you Linda. I am sorry to have made my terror so blatant, my parents would no doubt be displeased, but needs must. I am glad you enjoyed my terror (? What kind of lady is this Linda? The people you meet on the web! At least she recognises that the beast was fearsome...)


Weaver of Grass,

I have read your post. I have seen your close observations of the world...

I know know that you have no cats in the household sense; there is apparently a wide gap between farm cats and Pommes.

Pommes lazes. Pommes sleeps. Pommes takes photos. Pommes reads what I am writing by lying on the keyboard.

Pommes demands grapes, songbirds, and mice to be dropped down his gullet...

Pommes does not do tasks...

Especially not rotten tasks...

You lucky, lucky lady to come from a world where cats can be conceived of to complete tasks...

Lauren,

Correction. I photographed one. I am not sure if this one could use a camera or not. But maybe you are right; maybe those eyes glow to illuminate and capture everything on high speed recording equipment. I will attempt to analyse this theory later...

Travis,

Thank you. It felt more like foolishness.

Tschuess,
Chris

ELAINE ERIG said...

Are you serious??? Anyway I adore your´s red photos, but Boris problably hates.

Sepiru Chris said...

Elaine,

Probably not so serious.

I'm glad that you like them, I'll have to work on Boris...

Tschuess,
Chris

lyzzydee said...

I'd like to be there!!!!

floreta said...

i love dragons! wish i were in china to have celebrated the new year. your photos are abstract and mystical like i imagine dragons to be.

Raph G. Neckmann said...

What amazing photos, Sepiru Chris! They look like abstract expressionist oils, with that lovely semi-blended effect.

I'm sure the dragon was just being friendly, like a playful puppy ...

Sepiru Chris said...

Lyzzydee,

It had its charm...

floreta,

Thank you very much. That had been what I was hoping for.

Raph,

Glad you liked the photos and am glad to see that optimism reigns supreme in Camelopardalis...

Tschuess,
Chris