6 Harmonies and 9 Creeks
After a blip with our guide yesterday – we had to ask him to take us where we wanted to go and then he didn’t anyway – we got to take our stroll in the tea country. Tea is grown high up on the hillsides and in the misty mountain tops. About 10 years ago the government built a walking path through the tea plantations of Longjin Village. The path criss-crosses the 9 Creek for six kilometers of beautiful, quiet country. If we had come yesterday, when the drizzle had stopped and the sun was half-way out, this would have been exquisite. Today, when it was cold and rainy, the walk was beautiful in the mist, but we were done in after an hour because of the cold.
Each stream crossing is made over stepping stones of beautiful raw rock, set in the stream bed. Almost all the tea pickers are women and they laugh and call “hello!” to us as we pass. We call back “ni hao” in our broken Mandarin. And they let us take their pictures in the orchards, and they giggle. This is the first quiet space we’ve had since we arrived here and it was very blessed. Didn’t find out why this is called 9 Creeks and 18 Gullies. But it sure is romantic.
The 6 harmonies are the four great directions, plus heaven and earth. The 13-story pagoda was built 1000 years ago to control flooding in the Qingtang River. The legend tells that a dragon lived in the river and caused the floods. The builder of the pagoda lost his family to one of the floods, so every day he threw rocks in the river, causing earthquakes in the dragon’s realm. The dragon agreed to mitigate the floods, if the builder stopped throwing rocks on him.