Is a dewdrop world, And yet, and yet . . .

When I was a child, I moved a lot. I transfer to different primary schools three times because I was moving to different cities. Things around me was always changing. Yeah, even now, as a international student studying in America I’m always a tenant and I don’t know what would travel with me forever.(maybe my own body? but one day I’ll need to say goodbye to my flesh body too.) It feels like my hands are always open, and things just flow through them. Maybe this experience made me not believe in permanency, but deep inside I still desire something certain, unchanged, and firm. Yeah, such a paradox. 

I still remember when I was four or five, my grandpa took me to the riverbed. We carried some wet mud from there to home, and made “猪八戒”(a character in Journey to the West)and mushrooms out of mud. We put our works on the balcony. Only after an afternoon, they were all dried and cracked. 

Before my dad passed away, my family was living in an apartment which looks relatively fine and modern in that small and undeveloped city. In my memory, that apartment is huge with wood floor, marble table and fresh flowers, which looks like those rooms in ads. We left there when I was five and never came back till I was thirteen. When I was standing in that apartment again, I found it is so small, pale, dry and dusty, and then I saw that marble dinning table. My dad was fleeced. It is not marble at all. What I saw was those plastic coating with marble pattern peeling of from a wooden table top. Also, the wood of the flower expanded probably because of leak. That apartment was falling apart, and something in my mind was falling apart too. “This is the way the world ends, not with a bang, but a whimper.”

One day even the fake one would betray you and peel off to show the dry reality underneath. 

露の世は露の世ながらさりながら
Tsuyu no yo wa tsuyu no yo nagara sari nagara
This dewdrop world —
Is a dewdrop world,
And yet, and yet . . .

–Kobayashi Issa

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