Stone Basin

Stone Basin
at Ryo An Jin

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Day 9 the Quest for Black Rice

Mt Tai Mu was named some time ago after a woman who cured her kids of measles with the local white tea, therefore somehow, making it famous, so the locals worshipped her, especially the She people, a local indigenous group, famous for their Black Rice.
Strange shaped rocks jut unbelievably and often, vertically at 800 meters above sea, overlooking the ocean. Each couple of paces brought a new vista, some strange rock formation that looked like a turtle, an elephant, a cat springing on a mouse, etc. The strangest one though was called ‘Husband and Wife’. It looked eerily like a man looking up to the sky as his wife leaned on his shoulder, a vision both romantic and timeless. Did this couple turn into a rock one day while stargazing because the mountain was so beautiful and they simply forgot to go home? I would imagine it to happen to me, and someday, maybe it will, when I find my meditation rock deep in the mountains.
The mountains had a majestic quality, with those unlikely bare boulders shrouded by fog, contrasting with what were inside these rocks, the dark, mysterious caves one can easily disappear into. But everyone had fun with exploring the caves. Some were completely pitch dark, some had one slit above head called’ one glimmer sky’ , many were so narrow we were told we must suck our stomachs in and crouch while doing push ups against the walls to cross. All the cave rock surfaces were slippery and plastered with moss. The air inside the caves were chilly and sweet. At times, it was very claustrophobic as we don’t know whether we can be trapped. What if we had too much lunch and we couldn’t flatten our stomachs enough?
By the time we got to the base of the mountain they were almost done serving the Black Rice. Sitting in large steamers in each individual grass baskets, the black rice was sticky, naturally sweet, with a red date and fruit on top. Tano took one bite, and almost lost his mind. Both Soren and he agreed with me finally, that the Black Rice was by far, the best rice they ever had, and Winnie’ s right, it was absolutely worth the climb and the spelunking in the caves, to have this prize at the end!

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