The Education from Back When, Thoughts from the Wilderness

An outing of this father and daughter before she goes off to college, what the man was reminded of, translated…

The first time I took the MRT to the Taoyuan Airport, I’d taken the purple route, the straight route, and on my return trip, I’d tried the blue route, that passed through all the stations.

I rode on the MRT with my last year high school daughter, imagined, that we are, on the way, to her getting a higher education, the rails in the air was a bit, unsteady, there wre those, who were awakened from their sleep because of it, and rode to the terminals, and stood up and flew off, like those birds, made of glass.

The stations and the trains are purplish blue, imitating the colors of the Nitalva, with the common name of Taiwanese whistling thrush, the calls were quite, distressing, like how the car slammed on the brakes in a sharp turn, like the policies of education right now.

A7 Kinesiology University, A8 Changgang Hospital………we’d, walked to the Chi-ching Lake, there was the god of the earth in a statue, smiling at me in the middle of the lake, with the smokes rising from the small temple’s chimney, the doves, the ducks, ran around, and flapped their wings, like how messy the situation is currently in Taiwan right now.

The sun spread out all across the lakeside pastures comfortably, there were, the picnickers there, some sitting, or, lying themselves down; this was the Memorial Day long weekend today, for the sake of remembering those, who’d, finally, lain themselves down.

walking along a passage like this one, maybe???  Photo from online…查看來源圖片with the flowers, already, fallen…

I rode along on the Airport MRT with my daughter, and packed my own handmade rice ball wrapped in salted seaweed, it wasn’t a springtime outing.  Anyway, the sun felt so well, like it was, only eighteen years of age.  We’d walked a long time, and, the roads, approached us, without any doubts on their minds.

This was in April, the Chinese fringe trees were in full-bloom, with the cherry blossoms, withering away, the new buds were coming out, there wasn’t, a fallen leaf that’s, complained.

The airport MRT route passed through the mountains, the Tung oil tree, the green filled up the air.

And so, this, is what this father observed from their surrounding area, as they test rode the airport MRT systems, and it is considered, a rite of passage for his daughter, because next year, she’ll be away from home, in college, and, on this day, the father felt a mixture of emotions, his daughter is growing up and leaving home, and, it was on the day, that those who’d, sacrificed their lives for others is to be commemorated each and every year.


When the Performance Made My Daughter Cry

The companionship of a made-up dog that she’d seen in an act, that’s, stayed with her throughout her childhood years, translated…

These years, I’d been putting on the performances for children in the distant regions, and, seeing these shows, I would imagine, made them happy, especially with the scripts written, especially for children, but there would still be some children who’d cried as they watched us perform.  The very first show of my daughter’s life, she’d, cried in it.

In 2002, the If Children’s Performing Troupe put out a children’s musical, “The Songs of Strayed Dogs” my daughter was only a little older than two years, just about to begin in preschool, because of my good friend invited me, I’d, especially gone from Hualien to Taipei to watch this performance.

The stray dogs in the performances had their separate stories, and there were two separate attitudes toward humans, one, wanted to return back to their owners, the other lacked faith in humans.  Later, the two sides had an altercation and started in a brawl, and that was when my daughter began crying.  She’d asked me sorrowfully, why are they fighting?  She’d cried and told them, “Don’t fight anymore.”  In the end, the dogs decided to return back to their separate owners, only the strongest, and most stubborn one called “Luke” (portrayed by Jack Na), who’d, refused to go with everybody else, continued on his journey, straying.  As we got to here, my daughter wailed very loudly, made a huge scene, and no matter what we did, we couldn’t, calm her down, and, the echoes of a two-year-old crying aloud, resonated through the National Performance Halls (thankfully, we were, way in the back).  “Why didn’t it go home?” my daughter couldn’t understand it, why did Luke choose to stray on alone, on his own?

After the show was over, the story still, continued.

As we returned to Hualien, one day at supper, my daughter said, Luke is having supper.  We took it as child’s talk, thought that she believed that Luke was, eating, but she’d, continued, to tell us the goings on in Luke’s life, and we can hear it, that Luke didn’t just, exist in her imaginations, he was, in our home, right by her side.  She’d told us, she took Luke home, kept him as a pet.  A Luke, that none of us could see.

Her Luke didn’t go to the bathrooms, it wasn’t on her because the dogs in the performances never went to the bathrooms either.  But, as she got into the car, Luke would be, riding there by her side, she’d told us what Luke saw outside the windows, as we ate, Luke would, sit beside her, and we’d known about what Luke was, having for his meals; at a certain quiet moment, my daughter would chime to us on what Luke was, playing with; even as she got up in the morn, brushed her teeth, gone to the bathrooms, Luke was, right there beside her.

And so, Luke stayed with our family, and we also, got used to him there.  We’d started inquiring, how is Luke now?  What’s he doing?  And, we’d, started, owning Luke with our young daughter.

children watching a performace on stage, photo from online…查看來源圖片

Several years later, as my daughter graduated from kindergarten, she’s into elementary school and stopped mentioning Luke as much, but, every time we were, about to forget him, she’d, mentioned him again, without a warning.  And that was when we knew, that Luke was, still with us.

Until she was entered into middle school, and for a very long time, she’d, not mentioned Luke again, I’d not inquired her about it, if Luke was, still with us?  These past decades, was she, taking care of Luke, or was Luke, taking care of her, I really, can’t tell.

In October of 2015, there came the sequel of “The Song for Strays”.  It was the year my daughter entered into high school, she’d become, busier and busier, stopped being interested in the children’s program anymore, I’m thinking, that the large breed, Luke had left, or maybe already, died of old age.  Although, I’m, quite unsure, when he had, gone away.

My friends in the troupe saved two seats for me, and I’d, gone up north alone, not for the sake of the shows, but for that young girl of a little over two, she sat there, right next to me, in that empty seat.  I know, that this time, the young child is, no longer crying, because she already, found herself, a large dog to keep on her own.  After the show was over, I’d, carried that mixture of emotions, cherished the mixture of feelings I had, walked away, quickly, in the rain, left that noisy theatre speedily.

In 2015, that was the year I’d made promised, to perform for the children in the distant regions.  Several years had come and gone, I’d visited over a hundred elementary schools, performed for over thousands of children.  Every time there was a kid that cried as s/he watched the performances, I’m not at all, worried, because there was, always that little girl who was crying, when she watched the shows inside of my heart.

查看來源圖片look at how engaged they all are???  Photo from online…

And so, the stray dog from the story followed this man’s daughter all the way, into her teenage years, and, the experience of watching his own young daughter being impacted by the life of a make-believe stray dog had, touched this man’s life, and that, was what made him into a stage actor, who’d, performed the stories, hoping, to touch the lives, of more young children like how his own daughter’s life was touched by the play when she was a very young child.

My First Love, in a Freeze Frame

The memories of her first crush, she still recalls it like, it was yesterday!  Translated…

We were reassigned to separate classes in our second year in middle school, I was chosen by the class as the recordkeeper of class activities, I’d gone to the offices to collect the written accords of classroom activities, and, I saw him, standing like a noble, out of the rest of his class.  I’d, taken a mental note of his classroom and name stitched on his uniform, then I’d, casually, walked by his class, and started laughing aloud, to get his attention.

And I had, kept myself unseen on the roof of the school, and used my eyes, to take continual photos of how he’d, played balls on the courts.  And I had, adjusted my route to and from school, and “accidentally” passed by his house, and smiled up at the uniform hung outside with his name stitched on it.

Later he tested into an all-male high school, I’d, entered into an electronics company to work, and as I saw him, rushing to get on the busses with his backpack on his shoulders, I’d felt that my heart skipped a beat still.

My first love, he didn’t even know that I existed, and, I’d, kept the way I felt for him secret for three whole years, until at a reunion, I’d learned, from a former classmate, that he was, then dating my former classmate, and so, as Cinderella, I picked my broom back up, kept sweep, with that prince, riding off on a white horse, time had, blurred out the memories.

I saw him on the streets, with his backpack around his back, rushing for the bus again, I’d, instinctively wanted to chase after him, call his name aloud, asked him how everything was.

As I took that first step out, my daughter grabbed a hold of my shirt, and, it’d, wakened me up: I’m already a mother, a wife, how could he still be just fifteen?

First love, a time that belonged to solely me, sourness, mixed in with the sweetness, forever, in a freeze frame, of that youthful time in my life.

And so, a part of you, stayed in your teenage years, still remembering, how you’d, crushed onto that guy, and, because it was a crush, nothing became of it, and yet, this memory of a crush, it’d, given your life more colors, didn’t it???

The Wonderful Times I Had, Listening to the Eight-Track Tapes

Those WERE, the good ol’ days, weren’t they???  Translated…

Some songs were, saved, in that era of time.

Recalling how when I was a child, I’d, loved, shopping at the record shops,

Bought my favorite tapes, and would run it on the player an entire afternoon.

illustration that came with this piece, from…文‧圖/毛戎戎

Those already forgotten times of bliss, were saved, inside that small corner of my mind,

And if I wanted to relive them, I’d, replayed the moments in my mind again,

Song after song after song, from side A, to side B,

And my heart would, tremble as I’d played the tapes inside my mind still

And this, would how the memories of something stayed inside of your mind, even if the item that you once loved so much is outdated, and gotten replaced by something more digital, and this still also just showed, how the human mind, is the greatest storage space, with an unlimited storage space!










The Springtime for a Mockingbird

How this tiny creature, reminded the writer/photographer of herself, translated…

I’d, bumped into a nesting mockingbird, she’d, searched all over for the materials, hopped around.  The small beak was her only tool, the leaves, the twigs, she’d carried them, one by one, made many trips to and fro, her eyes, very focused.  Don’t know how far her nesting had gotten?  I’d, imagined how she’d worked hard, building up her residence, like the construction sites, and I’d, imagined it to be a place, containing all the dreams.

the photo that the writer took, from…

At this moment, I sat, at my desk, keying these words, I’d, imagined how this article would look when it’s, finished too, that is, also, what dreams looked like.

And so, we’re all, pursuing our dreams from a day to day basis, like the mockingbird, or this writer/photographer is doing, and, that, is how we make our lives matter!

Missing the Passing of the Seasons, a Poem

Just trekking through life, where life takes you, translated…

Slowly, the Buds of Springtime Became

The Bulrush of Autumn that Swayed

The Rich of the Rivers of Summers Turned

into the Dried Up Branches Over the Rivers of Winter

I’d, Slowly, Approached

Passing Through the Seasons, I Seemed to Know

But, it’s, Still, Very, Far Off

There’s, that scent of, just walking through the seasons of one’s own life, not paying attention to things in particular, but also, keeping that watchful eye of the goings on around you…

Taking Mom to See the Seas

So little, what mothers really wanted, such simple wishes, and yet, it’d, taken this long, for the woman, to finally live it! Translated…

My mother is a traditional woman from an agricultural background, in her mind, there’s only her husband and her children, she’d, worked hard for the sake of her family, she’d often told, that her biggest wish was that all of her children and grandchildren are healthy, and there’s, nothing she’d, wanted.

a photo from the trip they took together…from…圖/劉秀芳(高雄三民)

For long, I kept thinking, that my mother had no other hobbies or interests, other than going back home, she’d, never been anywhere else, plus she couldn’t ride a scooter, didn’t know how to take the public transportation systems, her social circle, is only riding her bicycle to the marketplaces to shop around. And we’d believed that it’s her ordinary day-to-day living, never thought about bringing her someplace special.

One day I was sitting by her watching T.V. at home, the T.V. showed the beautiful shorelines, she’d stared at the screen for a very long time, then, asked me, “there’s water by the oceans, right?”, I’d asked her if she wanted to go? She’d nodded her head, timidly, said she’d always wanted to go see the oceans, but we’re, too busy, she’d not felt right, troubling us, and said, that her spirits would be lifted as she sees the oceans.

Ahhhhhhhhhh! This was that story from our schooling years of how mom loved the head of the fish, turns out, our beliefs were, completely, wrong. I’d already, contacted my eldest sister, this Mother’s Day, we’re, taking her to see the oceans, to fulfill her long-time wish, and, whenever we have the time, we’d, all take her to see the oceans now.

And because the past generations of women aren’t like us, so outspoken, they usually, kept what they wish for locked up deep inside their minds, and, every once in a while, they would, toss out these “hints”, hoping that those around them can catch it, and this time, this woman caught it, and, made her mother happy!