That Ancient Trail Passing by Grandma’s Courtyard
2017-10-16 上午 10:30   来源:author: he jiqing;translated by xiao lu   

  My Grandma’s house is in a small village of a region called Jiangnan in China. It is my favorite place in my childhood. Every time when the Summer or Winter Vacation is approaching, I was expecting the date of departing to the Grandma’s would come sooner. The young man’s expectation was like a thin curl of smoke from chimney of farmland house and a tinkling mountain stream, drifting into the depth of time, changed into a precious memory of long time ago.

外婆家1

A Small Village in Jiangnan

(from Internet, added by South China Historical Trail Official Website)

 

  It is unforgettable but never recurs.

  We had to go by the waterway to the Grandma’s. It is a way of excessive charms, a way of great purity, by going through which, I cannot withheld my imagination as a young man. The water is so blue and clean. When the sun shines on the surface, there is like thousands of sun jumping between the streams. Farmlands and trees alongside the waterway were unfolded successively and projected into the young man’s eyes, with decorations of villages in the background of dark green and light green. If it is in the morning or after the sunset, just a stork of thin smoke from the farmland house being added into the scene, the  artistic atmosphere of a poem or a song is formed immediately. It is a piece of Chinese ink-wash painting, a painting with no ends. In my youth, I want to be a boatman with the wooden boats as my company, floating on the surface of the water with enchanted beauty.

外婆家2

A Small Village in Jiangnan

(from Internet, added by South China Historical Trail Official Website)

 

  It was a Winter night, with snowflakes dancing in the air outside of the window and winds whistling through the crack of the door.  A charcoal flame  was accompanied by my aging Grandpa, a bottle of his favorite spirit, and the several peanuts. I laid my arms on the table, facing my Grandpa and talking to him while he  was drinking. I told him that I wanted to be a boatman in the future because I like the wooden boats and the river passing by the front gate. Grandma heard our conversation, saying, “ Will you still go back to the small village when you grow up? I am afraid by that time, you have already forgotten your Grandpa and me.” “Why not”, Grandpa said, “The river is not so simple. Early in the time when I was young, it is just through this river that I went out to Shanghai to be an apprentice and to create my career”. On that Winter night, a Grandpa told the stories of the river to his Grandson.

  The river was not great in width and could only hold small boats, for the transferring of passengers and goods. The passengers were of course villagers while the goods were those products for daily use. There was a wharf built of strips of stones at that time. The river bent and connected to the ancient Canal. The Canal led to the Ancient Capital to the North and to Shanghai to the South. Grandpa told me that in the past, people seldom walked to far places and there were just a small numbers of roads. Boats were the primary transportation tool for goods. Besides Yangzi River, this river played an important role in ancient time. Grandpa also told me a lot of  stories of the ancient canal. Those stories were so fascinated that I always dreamed that it would be so nice to live in the stories. Time flies. Several years after, when I think about the river, I know that there were a huge amount of stories originated from the river and a huge amount of heroes came through the small  river to the grand sea and ocean, and a broad world outside .

外婆家3

Ancient Canal

(from Internet, added by South China Historical Trail Official Website)

 

  Is that a trail of life or a trail of destiny? That ancient trail has changed the destiny of a lot of people.

  Several years ago, I went back to the tomb of my Grandpa and Grandma. They have passed away for several years. When I was burning an incense to commemorate them, I recalled the small river passing through the front gate of the Grandma’s and connecting to the ancient canal. Mother told me the river never exits any more, replaced by building blocks. I was suddenly suffered from a feel of lose. I told myself deeply in my heart that it is not a simple river. It is a life trail to the outside world. Mother seemed to have read out my thought. She said, the Canal is now under treatment but the rivers inside the village have been filled and leveled up for the building of apartment blocks.” I cannot find the river anymore. Then I came to the river bank of the Canal. I can traced that a great amount of money has been invested into the treatment of the Canal. But I cannot never see the green tress, farmlands, villages and those strokes of thin smokes coming from the farmland house, all replaced by tall buildings of dark grey. The wide Canal in my memory in my youth has now changed into a thin line,never a trail any more.

  Being staying in the homeland for just several days, I once again buried my memory the river deeply into my heart. However, I cannot forget the Ancient Trail. With time passing by, where is the trail of life now? Do we need to keep the trail of the old time?