Tracing the Water Classic led Samten and I to Canglang waters (the classical name for a section of water along the Han River in Hubei Province) in early January of 2020. The photography in this handscroll is of the scenery along the water. Calligraphy that I wrote in the early spring of 2020 is interspersed with the images.

 2020月初《水經跡的创作把我和阿戈带到了沧浪之水(湖北汉水一段水域的古名)。这个14米长的手卷作品展示了水边的景色。2020年春天我写了点书法,把它们点缀在图像之间。

The first section of calligraphy reads: 

书法第一部分: 

淖轅泥踵 滯覽多景

From view to view the mud grasps at our wheels and feet, as if holding us in the moment *

 The second section of calligraphy reads:

 书法第部分:

濯足滄浪之水

We wash in the Canglang's waters

 The final section of calligraphy reads:

书法的最后部分: 

京城庚子疫期 秋麥製圖並記

Beijing, Gengzi year, during the viral outbreak; mapped/charted/recorded by Michael Cherney

The calligraphy text is an homage to the poem The Fisherman from the Songs of Chu (an anthology of Chinese poetry written during the Warring States period and Han Dynasty).  An excerpt from The Fisherman reads as follows:

书法的文本是对《楚辞》里面的《渔夫》一诗的致敬。《渔夫》写道: 

沧浪之水清兮,可以濯吾缨;沧浪之水浊兮,可以濯吾足。

When the Canglang's waters are clear I can wash my hat-strings in them

When the Canglang's waters are muddy, I can wash my feet in them

The text refers to the classical Chinese motif of the fisherman representing the seeking of harmony in nature and a simple life during troubled times.

这段诗句表达了一个中国古典主题:渔夫代表了在乱世中对山林野夫的简朴生活的向往。

Although the wet January weather meant muddy travel, Samten and I tried to follow the clouds northward on a crowded train from Nanyang (Henan) to Xian (Shaanxi). In retrospect this was a risky ride, as the train had just passed through Wuhan on its way northward, and the virus had just begun to emerge. By late January we were both beginning to shelter in place at our homes, Samten in Aba and I in Beijing. Our journey to Canglang waters felt to be a metaphor for what was to follow:  remaining still … and then moving again, in harmony with our surroundings.

2020年一月的湿冷天气意味着泥泞的旅行,我们跟着云往北走,踏上了一列从(河南)南阳开往西安的拥挤的火车。回想起来,这次乘坐经历是很冒险的:这列火车刚刚经过了武汉正往北走,而那时病毒已经开始传播了。到了一月底我们都开始禁足在家,阿戈在阿坝,我在北京。沧浪之水之旅好似一个关于2020年春的隐喻:被困住再次出发,与环境融合。

*The seal in upper right corner of first calligraphy section was created with my right index fingertip (the fingertip used to press the camera shutter-button) dipped in a mixture of gum Arabic and earth/mud gathered from the banks of the Canglang waters.

*书法第一部分右上角的印章是这样做成的:我用右手食指尖(也是我按下相机快门的指尖)沾上自己做的印泥(由沧浪之水岸边的泥土和阿拉伯树胶混合而成)盖的章。