My fellow infertile friends, step into this hall and say a prayer. This is a very special delivery to all you struggling with infertility. As much as I wanted to get my mind off this plight, a day in Pingyao was pregnant with thoughts of children. After our wonderful rest at the ranch, we headed out to Central China to a small historic town called Pingyao. We visited the Shuanglin Temple, which has a history of over 1500 years and famous for its painted clay figurines. Little did I know that it housed, yes, the GODDESS OF FERTILITY.
It says on this tablet:
"This hall was built in the reign of Ming Emperor Zhengde (1506-1521) and is where women came to pray for children..."
So you bet I prayed. I prayed hard. Our guide kindly explained how lots of children were a blessing (thanks, I didn't know that). She then pointed out the clay figurines around the goddess observing that one man holding four children had a very happy smile while the woman standing next to him with one child was angry. I could not help but laugh inside and think, "Where is the clay statue of the infertile woman who is enraged, crazed, bitter, and beyond unhappy?" Needless to say, the timing of our visit to the goddess of fertility was apropos.
So I hope this gives all of you a chance to speak with the goddess directly and not have to travel to China to pay a visit. She's got a lot of work to do among all of us and hope she pays attention.
I can't say enough good things about Pingyao. It's an ancient city that will knock your socks off. The oldest part of the town is walled off by a huge fortification and is like a time machine bringing you to an ancient world. The streets are full of merchants and the buildings date back thousands of years. For whatever reason, it seems to be off the radar for most American tourists. The only tourists that visit are mainly French and German. We were lucky enough to have a friend from Beijing who suggested going here. So I pass along that same suggestion to any of you out there who might find their way to China. It's a really unique and beautiful place.
We settled upon a great restaurant to eat for lunch. I felt like I was in a Wong Kar Wai movie (if you haven't seen his films, go rent some) with the kind of light shining in and the red lanterns. By the way, the food was fabulous in Pingyao. Famous for all sorts of noodles we gobbled up as much as we could. They also use a lot of fragrant hot peppers and chili oil you sometimes taste in Sichuan cooking. We inhaled our lunch savoring each dish. I tend to love a place more if I love their food.
Then our guide ordered this wonderful hot soup with pear and sour berries native to China. I've never tasted anything like it. As I slurped up spoonfuls our guide told us that pregnant women eat this soup all the time. They like the sour taste. She explained, "It's thought that if you like a sour taste you will have a boy and if you like a spicy taste you will have a girl." Of course I like both tastes, which I then inquired what that means, and she responded, "Twins." I know I am not pregnant, but I took all of this to be a good sign.
So as I close out this post, I leave you with another goddess that seems to be quite popular in this area. It's the Goddess of Mercy. Through all of my troubles and all of my losses, I've desperately needed some mercy. I hope it's coming my way and your way.