ultimate freedom


On my birthday, my best friend from college suddenly passed away. He is a Chinese ink painting artist. The red mountain was a gift from him. I had to give a workshop at the Cambridge Public Library that noon and I improvised this fish-bird to wish him freedom in the universe. And his farewell ceremony was on the third day after he w left. Of course I couldn’t go, instead I made a short video for him not to say goodbye but to see you again. The video is here.

Wish you were here

Pleinair watercolor 15*11 inches

When I first encountered her along the narrow path of the Willow Pond, she stood still and let me pass. I sensed it. When I stood before the purple flowers, I saw her standing shoulders slanting down. “She is in grief,” I thought.
When she walked over, she said to me: “so beautiful!”
“Yes, indeed it’s beautiful.”
“I just lost my partner of 30 years in March.”
“I am sorry… I can tell you are mourning because I just lost a best friend suddenly in April.”
We chatted for the next half an hour before the closing hour, exchanged our stories and feelings and we shared the sorrow and the bittersweetness of memories. She lost a soulmate and she told me “it’s a once a lifetime thing.” My friend has been in China and our time together was very limited and he is not a man of words, but nonetheless he is my soulmate (I know I should used past completed tense but I don’t want to). He is also an artist. His Chinese ink brush paintings reveal not only his quality as an artist but also who he is. He is deeply a Taoist man who dares to play his own game but also a Confucius man who cares family and friendship so deeply . We don’t need words. His pure existence in this world has supported me spiritually and emotionally.

I mentioned the movie Blue and how music is used to express emotions and she just downloaded the music from the movie. They used to take walks together at Mount Auburn Cemetery and shared the beauty. In the past year during the pandemic, Mount Auburn Cemetery became my sanctuary and artistic inspiration, when I shared photos or paintings on WeChat, my friend commented and sometimes made jokes.

We used to come here to appreciate the beauty of nature maintained well at the Mount Auburn Cemetery. Now we come here to mourn and to remember. Often I stood suddenly just like her, looking at the scene and imagine my friend is right there standing on the bridge or in the reflections of the pond – how I wish you were here.