Chih Shan 1986, Alison McMahon, E 1999

I did this one after coming back. It was a little hill we ran over at night on Thursday night runs in Taipei. For years, it was covered with shacks like the ones along the U.S. border of Mexico, terraced all the way down the side of the hill, and one day, they were gone, replaced by a park. This is part of the park, but it is old. The wall is part of an old Dutch fort on Chih Shan, said to be the site of the last or one of the last battles of the sino-Dutch war. I remember looking at those shacks for years and I remember running through this park at night and running down these stairs to come out at the road next to the river at the bottom, but don't remember how to get up in the park (other than coming up these stairs).

On the other side of the hill is a small temple/shrine. When you go inside, you see the back wall is a solid piece of rock, a part of a much larger rock that forms that base of the hill.

It was really romantic to me while I was living there, scenes like this, scenes like the big rock that are only left to describe -- I puzzled over how to portray the feeling of that one and never did find a way, not even in a photograph -- the elegant brick farmhouses of the early settlers up there in Taipei, far from the now old capital in the south; the sense of history in the oldest sites; the sense of magic in the rocks and trees and water; the greens, the greens for which I had to augment my palette. I think you can see all of that in this one.

Go to the first page of Ali's McArchives for more on the floating chop, which you see on the lower right on this one also.