Wednesday, April 3, 2013

So Much of My Life Is Determined On Randomness

When I was young, my mother and I frequently traveled by train between Beijing and Lanzhou. The trip took more than two days and as reward for being quiet and on the promise of no tantrums, mom would always let me have the window seat. I treasured having a view to pass the boredom; it was the only means by which I could tolerate what felt like eternity.

I enjoyed watching farmers leaving their houses early in the morning, riding on the back of their water buffalo. Sometimes I would see children standing by the side of railroad, as close as they would dare, to catch a glimpse of the city folks roaring by on the strange locomotive.

Often, I was lost in the passing rural China. I wildly fantasized what it must’ve been like to live in a mud-hut. Occasionally I would focus my eyes on the dirt path next to the railroad to avoid my distant guilt for the inability to relate. As a five-year-old, I had no concepts of the rich and the poor, just enough to know that we lived in a building, had electricity and running water, while these folks had to walk a few miles to just get some water for the day.

Soon enough I learned that if I drop my eyes as close to the train as I could, and loose focus of my field of vision, life simply became a blur of lines: colorless, tasteless, and irrelevant. Yet when I blinked rapidly, I would see snapshots of the path underneath me, ever rock, every blade of grass, and every piece of the wooden rail-bed: full of color, patterns, and details... I would often imagine when there wasn’t a loud smoke belching locomotive roaring down at 60 miles per hour, children would walk by the railroad and pick up a rock to toss.

These days I avoid window seats on anything: airplanes, cars, and trains. I avoid having to relive the nostalgia for the fear of transporting my imagination. I fear the moment when I saw a rag-tag boy, picking his nose, snots crusted just above his lips, standing next to the railroad and wondering if he was going to be hungry that day...

These days, I drop my eyes close to my path, lost my focus, and rarely blink to catch the moments of details...

These days, I only dare to blink when I know there wasn’t a child staring back at my soul...

Late Night Fingerprints. - randomness from Jin

No matter how long, how high, how grim,
If I can sweep, nearly free, let my mind be tricked and story be told.
My life too precious, but it never leaves;
On solid ground, I let my words flow.
I am here, I am rotting, I am illness-stained;
I listen without pity, hear me not;
I bury without a shovel, smell of garbage, but it really don’t matter no more.
A different sound I hear, like milk and honey;
I asked myself if I am made for this world.
Golden roads, fixed, crumbled, fixed again,
A different taste, like spring freshness at the end of autumn;
Winter is here again, smelling and tasting cost the grown man his patience.
Play that song again, lock up them folks in the cells again;
But it really don’t matter no more.
All my life, cycles cooked onions in dreadful tears,
Cutting with a smile, square fits a few short years.
No matter how long, how high, how grim,
Let me sleep, nearly free, let my mind drift into the thicket plot untold.
Any day now, late night shadow remembers where the path leads.
Convince me to walk into the sun again,
The future is just that part of history.
Think sharp and preach slow,
Remembering but it don’t really matter no more.

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