Observing An Elder

When I think about the heart and soul of China, I return to this woman who I never met. I passed by her at an outdoor market in the city of Nanning last summer. She was standing quietly on a street where a slew of vendors had their items for sale in front of them. Her hair was grey and she wore a stern expression, one that bespoke a life of hardship. Her plants looked healthy and well cared for. The simple presentation evoked a feeling of nostalgia. As I passed her, I wanted to ask her if I could take her portrait but anticipated she would decline. I moved on and stored her face and plants in the reserves of my imagination knowing I would one day return to her. As dusk emerged, I began my search for a hotel and she appeared in the distance pushing an old bicycle cart with wobbly wheels. I discretely snapped a few photos and followed her until she mounted the bicycle and entered the mass of electric mopeds and cars that flooded the street.

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