This place at least I knew. I knew if I followed the river I would find the mosque and in an interesting way my life seems to work the mosque would serve as a guide for this lonely Jewish traveler. I needed a rest though, the past twenty minutes had left me mentally exhausted and the heat of the evening left me feeling quite dehydrated. I slowly sipped on my ever present clear plastic water bottle of tea. I bring it with me anytime I leave home for a long period of time because while I might not be able to find a toilet, or a crosswalk, or an actual building that had stores instead of offices, I have always been able to find a hot water dispenser.
I sat there, and watched the river go lazily by. I actually felt a bit envious of the river, it had been around for centuries and it had never been lost. It always knew how to get where it was going, and if it had something blocking it , it simply made a new path. It did not need to worry about crosswalks, or finding delicious Chinese hamburgers, or getting run over by electric bikes that move slower than pedaled ones. It just simply was. It would not change, it never had to worry. Things that are not alive have that luxury.
Then a pause.
Then an appreciation of how good my situation was.
Another sip of tea.
Here I was in China. I was inside the fourth fastest growing city. I knew where I was, and on more than one level knew where I was going, I was not really lost was by any characterization of the word. I was waylaid, discombaobluated, and a few other multi syllabic words…but not lost. More importantly I discovered being lost was part of being alive. Because only inanimate things like rivers are truly never lost.
I spent some more time with my new friend, the river. I saw how someone had had the foresight to ad two old bridges that had more of a place in the 1500s than the new millennium. I t was interesting because more people seemed to be walking on the classic bridges than the newer ones. I sat I watched and I wondered if they were lost. No no, one to deliberately chose those bridges you had to be very sure of the direction you were going in. They were not lost and neither was I.
It felt good to be found again.
I walked about a block and a half before I saw the minaret of the mosque. I waited and listened to see if muezzin would be calling anyone to prayer. There was no sound. I looked at the crescent moon at the top of the mosque and thought how in a weird sort of way it had guided me back to my path, even if my path and its path are not similar at all.
I was hungry, I walked home.