May 21, 2015

Returning



All rivers return to the ocean. We rise from nothingness and return to it. I just read a story in the newspaper about the number of immigrants to the United States that return to their own countries once they become older. We long for the familiar or for the distant that we cannot touch right now. They say you can’t go home again and in some senses this is true. I recently came back from a visit to where I was born and lived for many years. The name of the town is still the same, but the town is not the same. Surroundings, stores, the people who were there are now different. It is home yet it can never be home again. Many of us miss the old world, the old ways but are powerless to revisit them unless it is in the mind, only the mind.

When young, I'd not enjoyed the common pleasures,
My nature's basic love was for the hills.
Mistakenly I fell into the worldly net,
And thus remained for thirteen years.
A bird once caged must yearn for its old forest,
A fish in a pond will long to return to the lake.
So now I want to head to southern lands,
Returning to my fields and orchards there.
About ten acres of land is all I have,
Just eight or nine rooms there in my thatched hut.
There's shade from elms and willows behind the eaves,
Before the hall are gathered peaches and plums.
Beyond the dark and distance lies a village,
The smoke above reluctant to depart.
A dog is barking somewhere down the lane,
And chickens sit atop the mulberry tree.
The mundane world has no place in my home,
My modest rooms are for the most part vacant.
At last I feel released from my confinement,
I set myself to rights again.

Returning To Live In The South ---- Tao Qian

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