Decades ago, the hills in Taiwan’s North East were sanctuaries for people fleeing from Chiang-Kai Shek’s White Terror regime. Granted, they had to flee deep into the jungle, far beyond the reach of the network of leisurely hiking paths I am now familiar with.

Still. Once the crowds of tourists and hikers are gone, it is easy to emphasize with these rebels. Hiding in the shadows, watching civilization through a curtain of leaves waving in the evening’s breath. The sun falls fast in Taiwan and it is easy to be embraced by the dark. This just strengthens the feeling of retreat. The personal mythology of the inner rebel.

Even at night, the jungle seduces you, lures you deeper inside while sucking the blood off your veins. (Literally. Mosquitos come out at dusk). At the evening when I took these images I looked up, into the gradient of blues merging into the blackness of the universe around us. Between the jungle and the depths of outer space, the condensation trail felt like more than a plane. A comet maybe, or a spaceships setting off.

Maybe I should watch Star Wars once again.

(Back to the Taiwanese rebels of the 20th century: A sideline in Hou-Hsiao Hsien’s masterwork “City of Sadness” depicts such a story. It is a long, slow film of extensive gravity and beauty. Recommended if you have the attention span for it.)

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