365 Days for Travelers: Sep 18


The most attractive things to me are time and
language. Time is profound and hard to fathom, but
language, even with its limitations, is able to depict
its true appearance─simply a moving and tragic act in itself.

Why is life said to be short? It is because we haven’t
seen enough of this ever-changing life.

The experience of waiting can be truly profound,
especially sitting in airports watching people who
hurry about as if the entire world is passing in front of you.

I hope that all Chinese readers, no matter what you
read, can quickly foster it into a hobby, into a
lifetime’s harbor for the heart, and to give rise to
steadfast judgement. So that such a big country, with
its many people and its complex, interrelated history,
will not use fervor to decide the fate of the country
and the individual. I hope young people can cultivate
a tolerant and compassionate mind. And that
similarly, children can be allowed to joyfully read starting from an early age.

Not long after the pressing sounds of the
emergency siren, a pattern of one long ring
followed by two short bursts, I could hear the
droning of the aeroplanes approaching, followed
by the bombs bursting into flames in the horizon. I
was alone in bed, listening to the window screen
buckling and rattling in the wind. It was as if ashes
and dust filled the entire sky and dispersed across
the earth. It rained on the neverending stone
steps of Sun Yat-sen’s mausoleum and the ripples
of Xuanwu Lake. It rained on Dongchang Street
Park and on the rows of desmodium flowers
decorating the house fronts on Fuhougang Street.
It rained on the see-saw of Gulou Primary School.
The pursuit of death had come to my window,
raining onto the new bamboo scaffolding and the
morning glories that bloomed like the starry sky.