Doing research for this project brought a picture to my mind of me in a field of yellow flowers with a long butterfly net chasing butterflies around and netting them as fast as I could. For each net full that I came away with, only one or two of the butterflies turn out to be actual living beings, the rest crumble into dust and blow away like powder from a crushed wing.

Or perhaps a gaping gangrenous wound that has festered for so long while hundreds of doctors jostle violently to be the one to cure it, but of the hundreds only one or perhaps two have any idea what caused the wound, how to treat it, and even these two only know how – they themselves lack the proper medicine and bandages to actually do it.

An essay I read called China “the Kingdom of Lies” and in my 12 years my experiences concur. Sitting with masters in Emei and Hanyuan and Qingcheng and other places, I feel as if the world has been thrown onto its head. Bureaucrats sit at the table of honor and laugh condescendingly at martial artists; masters don’t shun students anymore, but hope that the student will “see some worth in my kung fu”; marketers take over where artists have been pushed out.

It’s a tough thing to witness and deal with. But it’s my motivation so I guess I’ll just have to swallow it.

Another round of the blues in this again. Feels familiar like I’m saying goodbye and sneering as I go to help me leave. My only friends in this world are my brother and my sons – one too far away and the others too tiny to lay an arm around ole dad’s shoulders and say Quit Tripping Pops, Just Relax. Life is like a chicken grease chord, like a sparrow in a slow-motion hurricane, like peripheral vision. Almost gone, but always there.

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