My Daoist Life - 1
Huang Jing Yang
My name is Huang Jing Yang, born in the year 1992 of the Lunar Calendar, I am the Eldest son in my Family.
I was born in a remote mountain village located in the south west. At the time that I was born, my father was working outside. I hadn’t even turned one year old before my mother, following my father’s footsteps, also went to work outside. Now, many years later, kids like me are called the left behind children.
In our village, if the first born is a daughter, then one can have a second pregnancy. As the first born in my family was a boy, a second child was not allowed. In my childhood, I was no different from other children. However, if one listens to my Grandpa and Grandma, it seems I quite loved to cry in the evenings. A love for crying was seemingly not that great of a defect. My Grandma always used to say, that I originally should have been a girl, must have been an error in selecting the litter.
At the age of 5, I accompanied my Grandpa to the mountains to let the cow graze. It was from the interiors of the mountain that I recovered a round piece of metal. From that day onwards, my life started becoming somewhat odd.
That piece of metal was badly corroded. At the time that I picked it up, I couldn’t see the characters and patterns on it. After returning to home, I rubbed off the rust on it, and unexpectedly it turned out to be golden in colour. The pattern on top of it was very strange. When I glanced at it, it felt as if I had been sucked in by that pattern. Starting from that day onwards, I became different from other children.
“Aiya, Yang Yang how come you have become so strange these days? You never go out playing anymore.” Grandma was the first one to discover my abnormality.
“Maybe he has been thinking of his Parents. All year round, not knowing when they will come back. I already raised a son, yet now I also have to raise my grandson. Ah, this is the way of the world!” Grandpa wasn’t very concerned.
At that time, I wasn’t able to hear even the slightest bit of sound. That metal piece’s pattern started to move before my very eyes. I saw the skies up above stretching to as far as the eyes could see. Saw the vast and boundless earth. Saw the thundering nine heavens. Saw a gentle breeze blow by, perhaps on it’s way to create a violent storm. Saw the grandeur and loftiness of the majestic mountain ranges. Saw the from time to time mirror-like tranquillity and at other times turbulence, of rivers and lakes. Saw the water transform into air, air condense into water, water freeze into ice and snow. Saw the raging great fires…….
However, all the sounds and the imagery of life had somehow disappeared from my mind. Grandma began anxiously shaking my body, I couldn’t feel anything. Grandpa with burning impatience called out my name, yet I couldn’t hear anything.
The father and mother, who hadn’t returned home even after years and months, hurriedly rushed back. Carrying me in their embrace while seeking out doctors in all directions, I still couldn’t feel anything.
Nobody knew what had actually happened to me.
Some people in the village began to say that I had been cursed. Grandpa discovered that my hands were firmly gripping a piece of metal that had some dread inducing patterns on top of it, enough to make one wonder from where I managed to catch hold of this metal piece.
Even though I knew nothing of the outside world, I cherished this metal piece as if it were my life. I cried while tightly embracing the metal disc.
Mother and Father took me along to go to the county hospital and the province hospital to get me looked at over and over. All the money they had earned while working themselves to death over all these years, had all been converted into stacks of worthless tickets and piles of useless bills, but I still didn’t wake up. No matter whether it was the county hospital or province hospital, they both said that my body was completely fine, only my brain had some problem.
How could the Doctor have been able to say, that I was definitely not sick?
Grandpa and Grandma went around everywhere beseeching the gods and praying to Buddha, they even found some Yin-Yang practitioners for me. These people who dressed up as Gods while playing as Devils, how could they possibly have managed to cure me? Six months later, my family’s savings had been more or less used up. Grandpa, Grandma, Father and Mother, had all thoroughly given up hope.
June is the time of harvesting rice crops. The entire family sits in the Shai Valley Plains enjoying the sun and the cool breeze. My eyes were still blankly gazing at the metal piece in my hand.
“Let’s have another one!” The tobacco pipe in Grandpa’s hands was making a zi zi sound as he sucked in a breath with great effort, while flames flickered in the night.
Grandma, feeling her heartache, looked at me, and couldn’t help but continuously shed tears: “My darling grandson, how did you become like this?”
Father and Mother didn’t speak a word.
After having finished taking care of the two, Father and Mother again went southwards to take up part time jobs. They didn’t return at the time of Spring Festival that year. The next year, they gave me a little brother. However, fearing that I would not be a good influence, they never brought back my little brother home. After the younger brother was born, Grandma also went to live with them. Leaving behind only Grandpa to be at home with me.
Although I wasn’t able to respond to anything, I was still able to see everything. Yet everything that i saw seemed like a story playing on the silver screen, with me being just a spectator. This kind of a feeling was extremely strange. However, as more and more time went by, I found my mind getting more immersed into that pattern on the metal piece. At the center of the metal piece was a pattern of Yin-Yang fish that were turning in circles.
After Grandma left, the entire burden of the family farm work came down onto Grandpa alone. In addition to taking care of the farm, he had to take care of me. Contrary to what one might expect, I was easy to deal with, I was able to eat, drink and sleep. Only going to the toilet needed me to call Grandpa, and I would be able to do it.
As a result of me being in such a state, it was really too demonic. The villagers were afraid to let their children play with me. Even my own father and mother were afraid of letting me meet my younger brother, what use is talking about others?
Whenever Grandpa went to work in the fields, he would usually put me on top of a small stool that had been placed on a ridge. enabling me to sit on the ridge for a very long time. At my side would be a wooden stick for support and an umbrella for shade. It was only after that, that Grandpa would go to work the fields. Grandpa was viewed as a very capable person in the village, as he was an expert in all the crop related techniques.
The wind blew, and the umbrella tied to the side, in the face of the strong winds, bent to one side. My body was exposed to the scorching heat of the sun, but I was completely oblivious. My eyes were for the most part staring at the metal piece in my hands.
It was only after Grandpa finished the farm work that he discovered what had happened around me. At once he came running over, but was surprised to find that in spite of everything, I appeared to have not even the slightest bit of issue and there wasn’t even the slightest bit of sweat on my head. The clothes on my body were all cool, as if the scorching sun was completely nonexistent. The ground that I was sitting on was also unexpectedly cool.
Grandpa didn’t say anything and instead just collected the umbrella and then pulled me up: “Let’s go home, Let’s go home.”
The villagers who came across me, would always ask about my circumstances: “He hasn’t opened his mouth in two years?”
“Two years! Ai !” Grandpa would always let out a sigh.
At that time, I was immersed in a very strange state. I could feel that the Heaven, Earth, Lightning, Wind, Mountains, Ponds, Water and Fire, all possessed a strange connection to each other. There was a kind of energy that was connecting them together. It was only later that I came to know that this energy was called Primordial Qi.
As the New year rapidly approached, other families were already bustling with noise and fervent excitement, while our family was cold and cheerless. In my family, only Grandpa and I were at home. Father and Mother called during the new year time saying that with our native place being extremely cold, they were afraid that my younger brother would suffer from the cold. Father and Mother were prepared to work overtime during the new year, Grandma was also looking after younger brother. The round-trip journey was also far too expensive. Therefore, this year, only Grandpa and I were at home.
Grandpa was not very happy, but he never got angry in front of me. Just kept puffing on his tobacco pipe in a depressed fashion. The Villagers had already started using cigarettes with filters for smoking, but Grandpa still hadn’t thrown away his tobacco pipe.
“Second Uncle, Seventh Elder Brother entrusted me with two hundred yuan while returning, to give to Elder for purchasing supplies for the new year.” The speaker was my thirteenth Uncle Huang Cheng Gao, who had been working alongside my Father and Mother in the South. Thirteenth Uncle had returned along with his family yesterday. He was a distant relative within the same clan on my paternal side. Thirteenth Uncle and my Father had the same Paternal Great-Grandfather. Sharing the same Great-Grandfather were altogether sixteen Uncles belonging to the same generation. My father ranked as the Seventh Eldest. I was in the middle of the pack within my generation, ranking at the tenth eldest. There were quite a few people in my generation, more than twenty people.
Grandpa’s complexion has not been looking well these past several days, but seeing thirteenth uncle coming over, he reluctantly put a little smile on his face.
“Thirteenth. Your seventh brother just gave you these two hundred yuan? Didn’t he give anything else for the child?”
“Second Uncle, please watch what you say. If Seventh Brother had asked me to bring along anything, would I have embezzled it? He just gave me these two hundred yuan, nothing else.” Thirteenth Uncled laughed smilingly.
“I am not saying that you embezzled. Yet they, husband and wife, gave birth to this child, but now that he is older, they suddenly care less about him? Is he not a person?” Grandpa’s complexion had become blue.
“As the matter of me and my Family’s return to the village was really hectic, I didn’t get to tell Seventh Brother about it until the very last minute. Because of this, Seventh Brother only had time to hurriedly give me 200 yuan before I left with my family. Which parents don’t dote on their own son?” Thirteen uncle clearly did not speak the truth, and also could not deceive my grandpa. Thirteenth Uncle gave me a glance, and embarrassedly said: “Look at my memory, when I came out I didn’t even think of grabbing some candy for Yang Yang.”
“This child has committed a sin (what a pity), sweetness, bitterness and sourness, they are all the same when they reach his mouth. It’s still a good thing, this way, he won’t be aware of who is good for him and who is bad.” Grandpa’s dried up eyes had become somewhat moist.
Thirteenth Uncle was very embarrassed, and after exchanging some random pleasantries, quickly left.
Because of me, within the village, no matter whether it was an adult or a child, nobody came to our house. After all, a child was supposed to be lively, healthy and active, so with this kind of unusual and scary thing going on, who would still dare to stay in touch. Within the village, I was a kind of ominous person.
In the evening, sounds of quiet whimpering came out from within Grandpa’s room.
I could see all of this through my eyes, and listen through my ears. However, I was neither happy nor sad. I just coldly looked upon everything that was happening.
The far away white clouds, the distant greenery of the mountains, the murmurs of running water. Everything was just like mist.
The next day, early in the morning, Grandpa pulled me along as he walked onto the streets.
Although I didn’t respond to whatever those close relatives were shouting, they would ask what I was up to, to which I would continue walking mechanically.
The scene of me following my Grandpa with none of us saying anything as we walked in silence on the avenue, was always enough to make anybody feel baffled.
“Your Grandson is really obedient, walking all the way, neither making any noise nor creating any trouble. If it were my grandson, then he would have long ago rushed out everywhere.” An old man who was going the same way couldn’t help but remark.
“My Grandson has this kind of temperament.” The smile on Grandpa’s face was very stiff.
At this time, a person who was beside the old man whispered a few words in his ears. The Old man glanced at my body with a very strange expression in his eyes.
Good things don’t go beyond the door, Bad things travel a thousand li(500 km). Within the eight villages in the circumference of ten li, there were very few people who did not know about my situation.