My Daoist Life - 2
Walking with a Start
Chang Mountain Town was a big town, and was located in the center of several surrounding townships. No need for opening markets.
After all was said and done, Grandpa had bought me new clothes, spending more than a hundred yuan. Of the new year expenses sent by my father and mother, more than half had been spent. Grandpa had saved some money that he had earned through labour, which he used to buy meat, and fish. After thinking for a while, he also bought some long cylindrical fireworks.
“Oh Child, other people don’t even treat you as a person, but you on your own must work for improvement! Get Well!” Grandpa said while feeling sad, as he stuffed the fireworks into my hands.
The streets every year during the New Year’s time were always crammed until they were almost jam-packed. This was due to all the shopping in preparation for New Year. As far as one could see, one would only be able to see a dense mass. There’s no way one would be able to see the road in front.
Jostling about in the crowd along with Grandpa, the loud hubbub of the streets appeared to have become muted when it reached my ears. I was always holding on to that piece of metal, which had already been strung into a red string by Grandpa and hung onto my neck. However, I would still keep rubbing the metal piece in my palm out of habit.
The pattern on that metal piece had already been imprinted onto my mind. With my eyes closed, I could see the black and white fish constantly revolving, and black and white feathers located all around the pattern, constantly changing irregularly. Grandpa would keep the things purchased in a large wicker basket, using a shoulder pole to carry it. I also clung onto one hand, not letting go. The crowd on the street was bustling with activity, making it very difficult for Grandpa to walk on the streets.
Along the way, whenever Grandpa would stop me, I would stop, whenever he let me walk, I would walk. Gradually, the bustling market had already been left behind by us.
Since only Grandpa and I were at home, the preparations this year were very simple. In the cavity of the stove, a few pieces of smoked dark meat were hanging. Atop the main room, a few pieces of dried fish were hung. These things after the year passes, and when my father and mother have to go south again for their part-time jobs, they were supposed to take these with them.
On the first day of the new year, one mustn’t see blood, so chicken, ducks, fish must have all been killed in the previous year. Grandpa remained busy for the entire day. At last in the evening, he took me along to set off the fireworks.
“Yang Yang, come, these fireworks are yours.” Grandpa stuffed the fireworks into my hands.
I merely mechanically received them.
“Ai.” Grandpa let out a sigh. He took me along to an empty area in the Shai Valley Plains, “Come, Grandpa will set off fireworks with you.”
Grandpa with his hands holding mine, would ignite the fireworks and then raise my hand holding the firework up high.
The firework rushed towards the sky, before suddenly exploding, bursting forth with a brilliant five coloured blossom in the sky.
“Look, so beautiful!”
In my mind also there was a loud bang, as I suddenly came to my senses.
“Ai. En?” Grandpa for a split second looked as if he had received an electric shock, as he looked at me in astonishment.
“You, Can you call for me once more?” Grandpa tightly grabbed my shoulders.
“Grandpa.” I again called out. My eyes had again regained their clarity. Possessing a much greater intelligence compared to ordinary children.
“Good Grandson, my Good Grandson!” Grandpa tightly hugged me, while his tears flowed unhindered.
“Grandpa, I am already fine.” Having not spoken for more than two years, the words i spoke now were not really that orderly, but the logic behind the words spoken was already better than his contemporaries.
Grandpa pulled me to the Ancestor’s Memorial Tablet in the Main Room, before kneeling down into a kowtow.
“Many thanks Ancestor’s blessings! Many thanks Ancestor’s blessings!”
I know that in these two years that I had spent not talking, I had comprehended a lot of Dao Truths. With merely a glance at the blowing wind and the swaying grass, I am able to determine the weather and whether it will remain clear or rain. Doesn’t matter whether I am asleep or awake, doesn’t matter whether I am standing or sitting, doesn’t matter whether I have stopped or I am walking, I am always able to sense the omnipresent Primordial Qi. I became aware of how the primordial qi is absorbed by my body, and later excreted as foul qi from the lungs.
There wasn’t the slightest relation between all these things of mine and those old ancestors of mine who had already long turned into dust, instead it was my Grandpa who had actually suffered extreme amount of torment due to it. If it wasn’t for Grandpa’s care, I would have probably already been long lost in the world of the metal piece.
This piece of metal like a spark, had ignited the Dao Fire within my body. Perhaps it would be better to say that it was my key to enter the world of Daoist cultivation. The metal piece, which was made out of bronze, was roughly shaped into the form of the Yin-Yang Eight Divinatory Trigrams. However for me, it was an extremely precious treasure.
Because of me leaving behind a soul imprint during the process of Dao enlightenment, this bronze piece which was originally extremely ordinary had become somewhat different. It was exuding an extremely profound radiance. This was precisely the so called “Halo”. It was no longer an ordinary piece of metal. The protection of the halo ensured that even if it were to be buried underground for a hundred years, it wouldn’t rust.
“Good Good, quickly get up. Yang Yang, let Grandpa take a better look at you.” Grandpa quickly pulled me up. However, I discovered that Grandpa’s left leg was shaking. Grandpa in his youth had suffered hardships, and in a world of ice & snow had worked to build railroads, leading to him suffering from frostbite in his foot which had become an old complaint by now. Every time the weather changed, it would lead to intolerably severe pain.
“Grandpa, your feet are hurting again?” Grandpa’s pain was pulling at my heart, making me feel extremely distressed.
“Again?” This word used by me felt very unexpected to Grandpa. I had changed into an idiot two years ago, two years ago I was just a five year old child, how was I able to know about his old rheumatism in the legs?
I didn’t give explanation for it, these things cannot be easily explained, “Grandpa, I will bring you hot water to warm your feet.”
I made Grandpa sit down first, and then ran to get a wooden bowl filled with hot water, bringing it to Grandpa. After that I removed Grandpa’s shoes and socks, and then moved Grandpa’s feet into the bowl.
“Grandpa, you sit comfortably. I will wash your feet. From today onwards, let me take care of the Older generation such as yourself.” I said very earnestly. A seven year old child, even when being earnest, would still have some hint of childishness.
However, upon hearing that Grandpa was unusually moved, as he said with tears in his eyes: “Ai Ai, our Yang Yang is sensible.”
While on one hand I was warming Grandpa’s feet with hot water, on the other hand I was mobilizing the Primordial Qi in the surroundings to nourish Grandpa’s sore spots.
“Ah, so comfortable.” Grandpa, who was unconscious of the fact that his feet were getting better, was nonetheless feeling very comfortable in his mind.
The Year 1999, the Year of the Rabbit for me, one could say, was the beginning of a new life.
However, as far as villagers were concerned, I was still very much unusual. The children of the village still didn’t dare get too close to me. Anyways as far as I was concerned, I also had long ago stopped belonging to the world of these brats. I still didn’t speak much, nor did I smile casually.
Even though my Father and Mother had become aware that I could once again speak, but there was no response. Apparently they had already given up on me.
Indeed, there were some major differences between me and other children. In my family including my younger brother, there were six people, divided amongst five people is altogether more than about five mu of land. Grandpa had raised an Ox. Now that I had become better, the duty of letting out the ox to graze naturally fell on me.
The village children still ostracized me, so naturally they wouldn’t let me follow their cattle grazing group into the mountains. I was also disinclined to go into the mountains. The grass that grows on the ridges between the fields was actually very fresh and delicate, yet all children were generally not allowed to lead the cattle to the ridges, out of fear that the cattle would eat up the farm crops. However going to the mountains would be much more strenuous than going to the ridges.
However, I had a better way, as I led along the ox, I directed Primordial Qi into its brains with a pat before shouting: “Only permitted to eat grass!”
Actually, I don’t know how to train oxen, but even so, with this pat I managed to seize control. I coiled the rope around its two horns that I was using to lead along the ox and then sat down on a stone on the roadside in a daze.
A Villager seeing the ox grazing on the edges of the fields unattended, came rushing over in a hurry.
“Yang Yang! Are you again playing dumb? If my family’s seedlings are eaten, I will surely make your family compensate!”
I was disinclined to go and argue, amongst the Villagers nobody dared to seize me and ask what was going on.
That person ran to the farm and saw that ox hadn’t eaten even a single farm crop. It was very honestly eating grass.
After the news of this matter spread around, the Villagers were even more convinced that I had been hit by an evil curse. Otherwise, how could such a strange occurrence be possible?
Grandpa hated those people who said that I had been struck by an evil curse, and would frequently scold the villagers’ airs. As a result, Villagers no longer dared to say in front of me that I had been cursed, and played dumb. However, who is able to manage what people talk about in secret? The village children did not dare play with me.
Fortunately, during the second half of the year, I was supposed to go to school. By the year 1999, I had already turned seven years old, and were it not for the delay caused on account of me entering the Dao, then in the year 1997 itself I would have attended pre-school and in 1998 I should have gone to elementary school. Fortunately, I managed to wake up by this time, otherwise I would have had to wait until the next century for attending an elementary school.
Regarding the matter of attending elementary school, my Father and Mother didn’t seem to have the least bit of concern, nor did they remit any money. Grandfather had already given up on my Father and Mother, and were it not for her looking after the younger grandson, he would have already called Grandma back to Ba Jiao Village.
As far as going to school was concerned, I was not as interested as others of my age. Standing at a high position, one is naturally able to see farther. The profound and abstruse principles in the world have no end to be seen, and are not easily seen through. What possible thing can compare to it? Although I have come to, my life has undergone a total transformation.
At the time of getting me enrolled, Grandfather wanted to personally see me off. Just before it was time to leave, I looked up at the sky, then ran back and brought an umbrella.
“Yang Yang, there is so much Sun in the sky, and you took an umbrella, are you afraid of being in the sun?” Grandpa failed to understand what use I had for an umbrella.
“It will come in use later.” I also didn’t explain. Just continued holding on to the umbrella.
The village’s big fatty Huang Shulang looking at me holding the umbrella, at once shouted in a loud voice: “Look ah, that idiot, even with so much Sun he is carrying an umbrella!”
The big fatty’s father Huang Kui was the village’s butcher, all who wanted pigs butchered would come to him. At home they would constantly eat meat, this Huang Shulang liked eating lots of fat meat, and his voracious eating had finally made him a big fatty. The villagers often said that at the home where pigs are butchered, there is a big fat pig being raised.
Grandpa heard what had been said by Huang Shulang, and wrinkled his brows: “Huang Shu Lang, every year, you score an egg-shaped zero. It seems that eating all that fatty meat only made you put on fat and didn’t help your brain at all, eh?”
Huang Shu Lang was not afraid of my Grandpa, and dared to confront him as he said: “I flunked this year, and ended in the same class as Yang Yang. You just have a clear look, how the position of the first one from the bottom will go to your family’s Yang Yang.”
“Huang Shulang, Haven’t you woken up yet?” Grandpa said with a chuckle.
The school teachers had all heard about my ‘reputation’, but there was only one class at the first grade. With me having reached the age, the teacher-in-charge Guo Daoying of the first grade, no matter how reluctantly, could only permit me to enroll myself. However, from her face, I could see that she wasn’t willing to accept me as a student.