Today I’m going to share something different, that is any other kind of loss and our grief for what’s gone.
My mother-in-law gave me a book a few month ago and I’m still on it, each time I read a page in a train or on a flight, it got me into deep thinking: The Wild Edge of Sorrow.
Sitting in the train from Taipei to Hualian on Taiwan’s east coast, the stunning scenery outside stings my heart, not because how picture perfect it is, but because how much it reminded me of my childhood, the old green small southern town.
In my memory, where I grew up was always covered by unnamable plantation and trees, even in the winter, the occasional mist and frost mingle with the trees, allowing the mountain range to sit back and just be a mysterious background for the mind to wander. On the highest mountain, there’s the beloved Taoism temple called Baohua. I often looked out of the window and waited for the exact moment when the mist settled and the tip of the temple tower came out into the first sunshine.
The scenes outside of the window now are real yet surreal: banana leaves dancing gracefully among other tropical trees, misty green farmland in between aged and fading semi-high rises, white birds on trees, small shops selling homemade breakfast, wheels, and groceries. Laundry rack, garbage on the road, golden roofs of countless temples, small and big, and running rivers throughout the towns. They are not exactly pretty or artistic, but they are so dear and real that they slowly imprint as my very own impression of Taiwan. My childhood is embraced here on this not so far away yet far far away island.
It makes me miss everything about my home: the way people used to talk to each other, the small but cozy streets filled with rope jumping giggling kids, the neighbors’ food which always tasted better than our own, the Sunday farmers market and its smells, the rituals like picnics and praying, and the quiet nothingness honored with cats, dogs, fish, birds and trees, in the sun.
I wonder if people from my generation often feel this longing to go back or up to somewhere else, I wonder whether people who have witnessed rapid changes of their countries and societies also feel like crying for this hole in their souls, as it is so raw, so alone and so overlooked in such a soul devouring world.
I wonder if it is a sorrow that’s bigger than my individual one, if it is a grief that is deeper than my very own sadness.
It is extremely painful to either actively step away from someone or something we identify ourselves with, be it a country, a culture, a city, a street, a house or a childhood friend; It is extremely painful to be ripped off ones’ surroundings and habitat, like an orangutan all of a sudden having to live in a zoo.
That hole is formed.
That hole is never looked at again, not to mention its desperation to be touched, to be acknowledged and to be loved.
Even it was you who decided to end a relationship, even it was you who decided to stop eating one particular food, that person and emotion from your ‘past’, is still grieving in the present, somewhere not so deep in your shelled heart.
In a world where we are taught to abandon the past and for-love the future, we all need a bit of soul hugging.
That’s my opinion.