Went to MET museum today to see Carleton Watkins’ Yosemite photo exhibition.
It’s amazing to see photos from 150 years ago. Every dome and every waterfall seems just the same as what they look like today, as if they were perpetual. I have been to Yosemite 5 times to hike around the valley area so I can still remember the geography there vividly. So for some photos I can almost tell where they were taken. I can imagine the hardship of moving hundreds of pounds of equipment there by human and mules to take those photos. I can also feel the thrill of exploring this heavenly beautiful area before automobiles were available. It’s simply amazing.
In hindsight, I would say my stay in California in 2007 planted a seed that eventually grew into a more clear thought that led me to the US. Among the experiences in CA, the multiple visits to Yosemite were definitely a highlight. When visiting those national parks through highways, participating the educational ranger programs, hiking the well-maintained trails, experiencing the nature and the order that protects it from human beings, I knew I probably wouldn’t have any comparable experiences in China in my living years. Just like lots of other aspects, it’s a gap of 100 years. China may catch up eventually, or maybe in a shorter time with the “China speed”, but it will still be a long time when comparing to a human’s life, a human’s active years. The national park system showed this gap so well that I had to make my decision based on the reality. That’s it.