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Nostalgia

Those who immigrated here from the North have the same comment:” It is much milder in the South than out there”. But some others, including me, have found there is a distinguished charming beauty in the climate out there- as characters of a young girl who is hard to please.

I have always had such fond memories of my own hometown

When one cannot return to their homeland due to their work, due to the pandemic or due to countless daily matters, one has no choice, but wallow in their nostalgia. I have always had such fond memories of my own hometown, of my remembrances- things that are rustic, but indelible; things that flare up when there is something familiar at the sight.

A bright sunny day in the South recalls a memory of summer days in the North- the days we could feel the boiling heat when touching things. I cannot forget the sounds of cicadas up on the trees making a ceaseless summer song- thing that only made me feel hotter. Summer time was also the time of showers- showers came with threatening dark clouds and rumbling thunders as outburst angers from the God of Thunder. They were different from those in the South- those come in a hurry: they came with Eastern lightning, with yellowish clouds, with humid cold strong winds. To used-to-be country children, showers always bring back unforgettable memories: a feeling of worry and disappointment when they had not covered piles of harvested rice on their yard before a shower poured down and when they stood hopelessly seeing rice floating everywhere on the yard; an innocent joy when they saw unripe grapefruits and oranges scattering around the trees when a storm passing by…

Summer nights were also full of fun that city kids are perhaps unable to have now. On blackout nights, the moonlight flew through every alley and every house, illuminating gardens. Adults and kids who could not stand the sweltering heat inside their house gathered in yards or at porches to tell some jokes, to tell stories while scent of flowers were silently spreading out. The kids had many fun games to forget all the harshness of a summer night. The happiest thing were in rainy nights, when you can hear the sounds of frogs, even the buzzing of a mosquito in the silence of a village. In those nights, I often snuggled up in the blankets, covered my head with pillows as trying to hide myself from the anger of the screaming god of thunder, and then listen to stories from my grandma about gods’ punishments on burned tree tops… Those feelings, those memories woke the weakest emotions up- the emotions thickly covered with daily noise and dust.

Summer nights were also full of fun that city kids are perhaps unable to have now

Saying goodbye to hot summer days, we were right into the gentle cool weather of autumn. Autumn in the North did not have too much fallen yellow leaves. It normally began with chill winds, with scents from gold apples, from guava or grape fruits spreading. It came in excitements of kids who preparing to come back to school ‘to walk on the narrow long village road’ and ‘to see silvery clouds up above’- a feeling that Thanh Tinh once recorded in his piece of writing. Autumn also came with the Mid-Autumn Festival. The moon was bright and cool. The simple festival feast with some moon cakes, some fruits from the garden, and some star-shaped lanterns was enough to make one being haunted with the beautiful memory all their life time…

Autumn usually stayed longer, so winter came late with cold snaps. It slowly came, slowly came without any haste. Its drizzles were long enough to chill the air, to chill the water deep in rivers. Birds flew south to escape the cold winter. Hardly did warm shining sunlight come. Walking on the windy dykes, with the two sides of the mudflat full of fluttering cornflowers, one could find the winter so lovely. Here and there, mustard fields began to bloom yellow- it seemed that the fragile but strong bright yellow could warm a cold river nearby.

Winter had quickly gone to let spring come. Spring- the season when the nature and people woke up. Then came the feelings when sitting around the pot of banh chung being cooked, the feelings of waiting for the new year coming in the New Year’s Eve, the feeling of smelling the warm fragrance of incense in the first day of the year.

S pring was a beautiful season! Surprisingly simple beauty! Carpets of flowers covered the small road by the river. Carpets of cobbler pegs. Flowers were also blooming in gardens of longan, litchi, lemon, grapefruit, and orange… Their scent spreading out enough to dispel the moldy smell of spring rains. The nature seemed to be busier; butterflies and bees seems to be busier…

The weather is getting warmer, but now come the winds full of water vapor- too much vapor to make the floor getting wet, to make mold grew on the walls and to make moss grow green on the yards. The season when people have to wait for the shining sun to dry clothes in the yard or sometimes to dry their own skin being cracked after the winter. Kids like us love walking on bare foot on brick yards- the cool old yards covered with slippery moss. There are brick roads leading to ponds where there are rigs of melon, squash, gourd with white and yellow flowers, where there are small fish jumping out of water to catch fallen star fruit flowers…

Nostalgia keep flowing with memories- memories of the places where one once lived and grew up, the places where there were doodles on the walls. Thus, memories were always beautiful as a white cloud floating across the sky “My home town, far away home town/ Where it is now under the white cloud?”…

In the South, days at the end of May 2021

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Time 14/09/2021 at 14:00

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Time 13/09/2021 at 14:15

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