Fragile eternity; it is a tune played over and over again. To stop it, you would have to smash the record. And indeed it is going to be smashed. History is at the city gates; from day to day, in the rice fields, in the mountains, and on the plains, it is being made. One more day and then another one: it will be over; the old record will be smashed to pieces. These timeless snapshots precisely dated; they fix forever the last moments of the ”Eternal”.
Between the circular time of old China and the irreversible time of new China, there is an intermediate phase, a gelatinous duration equally distant from History and repetition: the time of waiting. The city has undone the sheaf of its millions of daily gestures: no longer does anyone file, or carve, or scrape, or trim, or adjust, or burnish. Abandoning their small living spaces, their ceremonies, their neighbours, people go and crowd together, in shapeless masses, in front of stations, on the docks. Houses empty. And the workshops. And the markets. In outlying locations, crowds gather, compact together, coagulate; their fine structures are crushed.