I use FB with aloofness, and like many people who don't have an FB account, our access to it is actually through our family, who stays logged in when we happen to use the computer. Because of such a coincidence, I accidentally found a workshop held by HAND Organization stationed in Solar LEO House in the Youth Park in Taipei. The participants will first be taken on a walk tour to learn about the trees in the park, which will inspire us to create with paper cutting techniques.
I mistake the Youth Park for 228 Memorial Park, so in the end I have no choice but to hop on a taxi. It is then that I realize I've never been to the Youth Park. Luckily, the patient taxi driver offers quite a comprehensible introduction of the part of the city.
The Solar Leo House is a very cool building, the first floor used as a library where people check out books all by themselves. The second floor is the exhibition space of HAND Organization to promote solar energy. When I push open the door, I immediately smell the scent that I did whenever traveling abroad. Thanks to the energy-saving design, it is very comfy and quiet inside without any need of air-conditioning. Next to the double-layered windows are lovely yellow flowers. I am impressed by a quote from the pamphlet:
With eight minutes and twenty seconds,
on a journey longer than 150 million kilometers,
photons reach the earth from the surface of the sun.
Solar energy is not only everywhere,
it is also our most instinctive energy.
Solar optoelectronic energy is elegant in that it does not harm the environment. HAND Organization offers many workshops and courses to better people's understanding of the topic.
Before we set out for the tour, our ecology teacher introduces some trees, their leaves and flowers. It does not occur to me that many leaves give off smells after we tear them into pieces, which is actually their form of self-protection. It's wonderful to employ more than the eye to learn.
One of the most interesting lessons of the day is about the life cycle of the fig wasp. It is so amazing that I think I should write a picture book on it. I can't help exclaiming: Nature is so full of wisdom!
During the walk, our art teacher Joanne Ku invites us to do tree bark rubbings because every tree has its own pattern. Everyone is engaged in the task.
Banyan trees have many aerial roots.
Here is a quote from the Wikipedia:
The seeds of banyans germinate and send down roots toward the ground, which may envelop part of the host tree or building structure, giving banyans the casual name of "strangler fig."
This summer I have heard the story on the differences between maple trees and sweet gum trees twice, previously on the trip to Wuling Farm. Something special about sweet gum is its fragrance after the leaf is torn and rubbed.
Small-leaved Barringtonia has to live by the water as its fruit is dispersed by ocean currents; thus the fruit is shaped like a boat. The blossoming season is July and August, and flowers in bloom look just like fireworks.
Common Crepe Myrtle.
Hibiscus, originally grown in the south of China. It is the national flower of Malaysia.
After the tour, Ms. Ku introduces the basic principles of paper cutting.
We cut the paper on which we did tree rubbings into three pieces.
The long strip is used for the design of a connected pattern.
The square-shaped ones are used for designs of window decor.
In the end we are asked to come up with a design inspired by anything we see or smell on the walk tour. Though I've never seen blossoming barringtonia, I can imagine it in my mind with the teacher's vivid explanation.
A snapshot of everyone's works.
In the evening, I decide to go to my first ever protest against the military's rough handling of Hung Chung-chiu's death. Though I've always feared the crowds, I am glad that I make it there.
Interestingly, whatever the occasion is, there are always ice cream vendors wherever crowds gather.
This reminds me of my reading Tomi Ungerer's Moon Man to the boys. Kai didn't understand why the ice cream man also rushes to the accident site. Well, don't picture books reflect the real life and vice versa!