“I’m going to take a shot and label it One Hour Later,” I joked as I lifted my camera over the chattering, shuffling crowd. I nervously glanced at my friend, an international student studying in Glasgow, to see if my wry humour was helping break up the wait. I knew we’d have to stand around a bit between getting our ticket, then our torch and finding a good spot in the torchlight procession… but I’d imagined an hour of relaxed banter interluded by munching savoury, greasy food in the comfort of a booth in one of the many pubs lining the Royal Mile of Edinburgh. Like last year. As a newly minted veteran I’d felt prepared. But this event was a whole different beast altogether.
The sweet fragrance of wax wafted through the air, mingling with the smoke as it drifted up into the faded yellow sky. Everywhere pinpricks of light cut through the black: distant city lights, the delicate specks of fairy lights and the dazzling dances of flames flickering from 8,000 torches. The streets were on fire. Continue reading “Edinburgh Torch Procession: Hogmanay”
Pop. Pop. Kipow. Screeeaaachhhh! Pop. Pop. Poppoppopopopopop. Pop……..
The crowd woops and cheers as the announcer jumps to his mike and shouts out a send off. As the crowd thins I gaze over at the empty sky. Something was different about these fireworks. What was it?
From my side a winding creature fixed to the staff in my hand rose to peer over the masses. Glancing left then scanning to the right its small drum heart pattered as the weighted strings spun out and pelted its surface. The sound of rain droplets bouncing off a tin pot radiated from the dragon’s sway. It bobbed through a 360-degree turn then shook its head and zipped down to my side once more.
Uncomfortably shifting my legs, for the tenth time I contemplated my decision to choose the floor over the chairs lining the sides. The mats surrounding the small table had seemed so inviting, and so exotic. The chairs in comparison had seemed to be placed there for those interested in the event, but not willing to fully immerse themselves. They’d seemed like crutches. They were cultural prisons, like always choosing a fork over a chopstick. In comparison, the mats had no restraints, no enclosures and, I would soon realize, no support.
I’d gleefully set myself down on a mat off to the right, savouring the feeling of freedom after being bound to a chair all morning. An hour in the novelty was gone and I found myself restlessly fidgeting. I had never stayed in a cross-legged position for this long before. My legs were falling asleep and my back was stiff from unfamiliar effort. Occasionally I wistfully eyed the chairs, longing to get over myself and rise to those thrones. Eyeing my fellow observers I noticed one woman, then another, unabashedly unfold their legs and stretch them before themselves. Inwardly relieved I followed suit, sighing in bliss as my legs were released. Content again I could once more take in the fascinating presentation before me. Continue reading “Traditional Chinese Medicine Presentation”