Tune of the Erhu
DALI. CHINA. 2015
It has been raining. The cobblestoned streets are dull, almost empty for China, and there’s a heavy unease in the air. Tunes float out of pastry shops where women crush rose petals and fill cookie dough balls with the same to bake flower pastries which they will sell for 10 kuai each, a perfect warm thing to eat on cold Yunnan days. It is January 2016 in the Yunnan Province in China. People walk by without a word, for such is China and its people: reserved, closed, bubbled, alone. No one talks to strangers. No one smiles at a foreigner. Everyone is alone within their aloneness. Everyone is busy going nowhere. A man plays a melancholic tune on his Erhu, an instrument also called the Chinese fiddle and originating in the Tang Dynasty. He’s an unrealized consciousness bringing us all together. He’s the inconceivable instrument of advaita on these cold windy streets of Dali, who cracks open, albeit slightly, the souls of everyone who walks past him.