I Have Run Head-on into Autumn
Because early morning is the most pleasant time of the day in this long, hot summer, I have developed a habit of getting up or going to bed at daybreak, which is around four thirty, for sure.
That is the pattern of my life.
But last night, I went to bed earlier, at about eleven o'clock. When I wake up, it is still dark outside. I am about to go back to sleep when I suddenly become aware of the unusualness in the buzz of mosquitoes and the flow of the air. They don't seem to be happening during the thick darkness of midnight! Looking at my watch, I find it already five o'clock, as I have expected.
After rolling out of bed and rushing through my morning routine, I walk out of my room, which is as hot and smoky as a kitchen. No sooner have I stepped out of the halfway than I run head-on into autumn, almost to be knocked back!
First comes the wind, slowly, like a huge fluttering skirt, caressing me from head to toe. Like toothpaste being squeezed, I feel an immediate, thorough relief in my heart. I am not as energetic in the summer as I am in the winter, mainly due to the lucidness of my mind. Now, an earlier autumn has come to resolve my problem. Why not go with it?
The sky that has borne me down throughout the whole summer has suddenly lifted. Looking up, I see numerous small-sized clouds, as white as sterling silver, neatly lined up in the limpidly blue sky. The more I gaze at them, the more they look naughty and resemble my innate inspirations. How I wish I could bring them down and take a few bites at them! I now remember a song I wrote quite a while ago, I See a Face in the Sky, but now my mood is quite different from what it was then, and I am also much older –am I? So I stand there looking at those clouds. I want to continue looking at them – until they slowly disappear and are firmly implanted in my mind.
There are more and more passers-by. Some of them look up into the sky, like me – those are romantic types and I bless them; some of them give me a weird look and then hurry away – those are people whom I bless too, because they have a purpose to be busy. This is what life should be like: you have to do something or feel something. Each of these two choices is respectable and cannot be taken lightly. This is just like me at the moment: I now stand my ground. Like an old antelope, I have to be cool-headed in holding myself in my own territory, next to the earthen wares and the wire fences. Everything will be alright by six o'clock, when by the park gate, there will be vendors selling delicious and succulent minced pork dumplings, to go with jellied tofu soup thickly dressed with fresh green parsley over brightly red chili oil and loosely dotted with chopped, smoked turnips. And there will also be deep-fried dough sticks as hot-tempered as felines, soybean milk as demure as a lovely girlfriend, and crispy-crusted, tender-hearted, green-onion-flavored pancakes as intimate as a bosom friend.
Of all the houses tightly lined up here, every window has behind it a story that I have also experienced or that I am interested in hearing; every sleepwalking man cannot help fidgeting like me and every woman in pajamas has been loved or is now in love; every old man is rich with experiences and every child fresh; every dog is animated and every pigeon keen. Every morning I do the same thing, although I am now different from before, always dreaming of unusual encounters and always wishing to inspire fervent passions, yet always being fooled by peevish reality and awakened from fanatical visions by such unusual weather, like today. I am now no longer lonely. Right?
This loneliness is like a padded cotton quilt, spread out high in the sky. It can be depressing, descending, entwining, or uplifting, depending on the change in the number of people who share my room. Beautiful, isn't it? Yes, but a little cruel, I know.
Wow, my Beijing, the one that just had a traffic control yesterday, the one that has had the highest temperature in the country this summer, the one that has revitalized my nerves with a fresh autumn, and the one that has thoroughly disordered my life, completely unfolded my story, and carefully turned me into a new paper to write the story on!