Mei Nong
Taiwan's Beautiful Farms Area
Standing here on the top of Lion Mountain in southern Taiwan, you can see the area of Mei Nong, or Beautiful Farm. As you look over to the other side of the valley, you can see the southern end of the mountain range that stretches along the eastern side of the country, forming beautiful seashore areas where, in some places, there is a sheer drop from the mountains to the Pacific ocean. Here in Mei Nong the mountainsides are home to a variety of wildlife, including monkeys who shake the trees in the morning as they settle down to breakfast. This farming area is now being turned into a haven for the newly rich, as the old farm houses built by a Chinese ethnic group known as the Hakka give way to hacienda style houses that look like encampments, some with large metal doors and surrounded by stone walls. Mei Nong includes a smaller area called Long Du, or Dragon’s Belly, where two hundred children have been born who have later earned doctorate degrees.

Standing here with me are the two ladies who are nuns in the spiritual community. They invited me to take the trip there from Taipei, a three hour ride on the High Speed Train. It was my first time in Mei Nong, and so I did not know the only way I could get around was on the back of a scooter, but there I was, all 200 plus many pounds of me. Of that spectacle I am happy to say I have no pictures. But one might imagine.

This is the interior of one of the farm houses built by the Hakka people in Taiwan. The Hakkas are originally from northern China. They came to Taiwan in the first waves of Chinese people to come to the island some 300 years ago, and when they came they encountered the Aboriginal cultures who had been there for many years. The Aboriginal people are believed to be the Austronesian group of people who inhabit areas from Malay to Hawaii and New Zealand. They have been in Taiwan for a few thousand years, but are now very small in number. The Hakka gradually inhabited the land area here in Mei Nong, and the Aborigines retreated to the mountains, as they did elsewhere in Taiwan. The houses built by the Hakka are old and quite lovely. This one belongs to a popular musician who sings the music of the Puyuma culture. This website from Taiwan’s official tourist agency has information on Aboriginal culture.

Ah Shan, the gentleman who was our guide, took us to a pottery shop owned by a ceramic artist and his father. It was a fabulous moment for me as a I am always fascinated by visual artists. They make things you can hold in your hands or put up on walls. We poets sing to the soul, and although it is supposed to be a lofty calling, there is something that calls to me from the world of working with wood, earth, and other things. I guess it’s the thingliness of things. In any event, I have spent several precious moments since this trip back in June thinking of what it would be like to retire here in one of these old houses and just write. Get out in the mornings, do my exercises, and walk for an hour or so before settling in for a day to make art. Not bad, huh?
Ah Shan is the gentleman to my right. He also teaches children in a neighboring school the art of organic farming. He is dedicated to living things, he says, and is seriously concerned about what our alteration of the world is doing to the world and to us. The bridge where we are standing is on the grounds of the elementary school where he teaches. The kids were in summer session while we were observing their handiwork.

Ah Shan let me stay in his study while I was in Mei Nong for the weekend, and his three goats were my new friends, mama, papa, and baby goat. We had a little bit of a conflict. Ah Shan’s study has lots of paper, and you know how goats like paper. Well, at 2:00 in the morning when they were sure I was asleep, one of them stepped back a few paces, squared off, and then rammed the door with his/her head. I would go to the window and shoo them off, listening to their feet tapping the stones. Then a few minutes later they were back. It was probably papa, or maybe he and mama took turns teaching baby goat how to harden his or her head. In any event, I won’t have any goats when I retire to Mei Nong and into a Hakka farmhouse.

Read the poetry of Akuwuwu, a member of the Yi ethnic people in Mainland China. Go to: Poets Cafe:


Anonymous said…
Seems foolish, I know, but it do' seem as if a good po'k-chop, fried jes right, would he'p consid'able to disumpate this misery feelin' that's crawlin' and creepin' round my sperit.. Morland in return presented Edward and Caroline. This puzzled the Frenchman exceedingly; and, being a stranger in those parts, he called to a farmer in an adjacent field.. Republished in The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County, and Other Sketches (1867), by Mark Twain, all of whose works are published by Harper & Brothers.. So far as I am concerned, said Mr.. The thing to do, Pink, is to have your prices reg'lar, and make people pay up reg'lar.. She smiled as she thought of Ralph.. William, said he, how long have you had this horse? About two years, said Mr.. Properly speaking, the unconscious is the real psychic; its inner nature is just as unknown to us as the reality of the external world, and it is just as imperfectly reported to us through the data of consciousness as is the external world through the indications of our sensory organs.. A weight seemed to be lifting from it ounce by ounce as the fence panels, the weedy corners, the persimmon sprouts and sassafras bushes crept away behind him, so that by the time a mile lay between him and the life partner of his joys and sorrows he was in a reasonably contented frame of mind, and still improving.. As a matter of fact, there was ground for Stuhk's apprehension.. But for the most part his broad black face was turned up to the blue brilliance above him in unblinking contemplation; his keen eyes, brilliant despite their sun-muddied whites, reveled in the heights above him, swinging from horizon to horizon in the wake of an orderly file of little bluebill ducks, winging their way across the river, or brightening with interest at the rarer sight of a pair of mallards or redheads, lifting with the soaring circles of the great bald-headed eagle, or following the scattered squadron of heron--white heron, blue heron, young and old, trailing, sunlit, brilliant patches, clear even against the bright white and blue of the sky above them.. Leonard--I am really very sorry--and I regret to say that I do not know her at all.. And he ketched Dan'l up by the nap of the neck, and hefted him, and says, Why blame my cats if he don't weigh five pounds! and turned him upside down and he belched out a double handful of shot.. The theory of the psychoneuroses asserts with complete certainty that only sexual wish-feelings from the infantile life experience repression (emotional transformation) during the developmental period of childhood.. My friend's book deals with the chronological relations of life, and, amongst other things, correlates Goethe's duration of life with a number of days in many ways important to biology.. A young girl who has struggled hard to continue my treatment, against the will of her relatives and the authorities whom she had consulted, dreams as follows: She is forbidden at home to come to me any more.. The consternation in the Ellsworth party was past calculating by any known standards of measurement.. She dragged her chair nearer his desk.. She was so unfortunate, a second later, as to slip her foot in this very tangle and give her ankle ever so slight a twist...

Popular posts from this blog

What Happened to Baltimore?