Far, Far Away
In earlier time I heard from my grandfather that our family migrated from Sichuan Province. But much earlier, maybe it was at the end of the Ming Dynasty. At that time Zhang Xianzhong attacked Sichuan, and Sichuan was void of people because of Zhang Xianzhong’s massacre. Therefore, our family also came from Jiangxi to Sichuan. Then we could go back to much earlier.
Thereupon I feel tried. It is hard to realize that the most lifetime of people is on the journey. Whether walking or cycling, or even taking modern large ocean-going ships and supersonic aircrafts, people always flit and bustle on the journey.
The desires of people are diverse merely on account of the time changing. There are different choices of roads, like the road of escaping, the road of richening and the road of studying
Roads are so important for people’s life that they are still going on the road of heaven resignedly. The existence of roads makes the bodies of people get evolved, the decency of clothes is distinguished and the civilization can also make progress.
Road is almost the only choice of life. A baby is born, from crawling to standing and, from standing to walking, which starts off the conception and creation of life.
Coming of age, a person who could stand up to the storm of life and enrich his experiences can go far and steady. It is also a kind of pride for life;
“To get rich, build the road first”, even though crushing pan to sell irons for money, a village still wants to build a broad road. Although traffic and air accidents occur continuously, people still get onto them without hesitation.
Therefore, there are ambitious and fervent poems about roads, roads are described as the Long March of 25,000 Li, the navigation of Magellan, Tang Sanzang’s  pilgrimage for Buddhist scriptures, the Crusades and the Silk Road.
It has also “The wind rustles strongly and the water of Yi River chills acutely, the hero leaves lonely and never he comes back truly”, “There is still a long and indistinct way, I am going to watch around and seek”, “Ancient road, westerly wind, emaciated horse, a heartbroken person in horizon”, “The road to Shichuan is harder than to climb the sky”…
Those endless songs of impassioned and mournful, and those contents of pathetic and touching are full of profound and lasting resentment as well as far-reaching memories.
I had a chance on business to Jiangxi province meeting with Qi Yue Liu Huo  that year. At that time, “A Travel of Saying Good-bye to the Three Gorges” was hyped and I could not resist this enticement, so without choosing a shortcut, I took a longer way, and opted to Jiangxi via Chongqing bypass the Yangtse River.
The train was crowded. With great difficulty, we found acquaintances to open the back door so that we finally got onto the postal carriage. After experiencing the initial busyness and restlessness on the long journey, I started off another adaptation. Listening to the regular but tedious bang, bang of train, I realized that this large steel dragon was sliding from plateau to basin.
The spatiotemporal conception of people is really odd. Space surrounds us, but time should be experienced bit by bit. Therefore, time is symmetrical for Newton; however, Einstein believed that, “Even though the distinction among the past, present and future always pesters us, it is just a delusion.” and “Time is spatial tortuosity.”
At that moment, I felt there was a kind of remote echo connecting the reality and history, it seemed like passing a mysterious tunnel, and I came to see ancestors trekking on the way hundreds of years ago.
Three chaps as blood brothers who came from Hechuan, Sichuan province took several bags of salt. They first carried out selling juncus effusus as their business, later they started business of oil milled. One of the three chaps was my great-grandfather.
A father, with his son from Fuling, Sichuan province, walked along with the Wujiang River and reached the riverside of Furong to buy farmlands and build houses. Afterwards, they formed a huge family almost covering a county and my mother was born there.
A young man with his young wife started from Jiangjin, Sichuan province and reached plateau, using this oil sandstone that they brought to sharpen knife and trim oxhide. Now, one of their descendants’ daughters has been my wife.
In fact, the whole north of Guizhou is an emigrant society. Sometimes, when roaming towns or villages, some silhouette of foreign culture can be seen, like “percussing drum gathered around”, “guild hall of Jiangxi province” and “guild hall of Hunan province”.
“Muniuliuma”, a handcart transport vehicle invented by Zhuge Liang (181-234 A.D. a famous statesman and militarist of the Kingdom of Shu during the Three Kingdoms in ancient China), has become a popular conveyance naming “Jigongche” (it is famous for its appearance which likes cocks) when it came into the north of Guizhou. “Guizhou is the Mountain Fanzeng ”, “If you make a mess, you could get rid of it, and moved it to Guizhou”, all which are the most prevalent “pet phrases” for the year in Southern Sichuan.
In the years of turmoil, remoteness and distance were peace and tranquility. “The mountain is high, and the emperor is too far away to rule people”, which means more freedom and less exploitation, so that cultivators possess food and mulberry planters own clothes.
Once you form a habit, it becomes natural to you. Up to now, people in Sichuan still believe that “Trees are moved, they doomed to die, men move but they make a living”, without a little change.
But moving has different meanings because of the difference of times. Escaping from wars in those years, looking forward to civilization today; previously, people make a living for clothing and food, now is to flourish and grow. However, there is some “blind stream of people” belonging to “unplanned birth guerrilla”.
That is the reason why the Chuan-Qian Railway (Chuan and Qian are the abbreviations of Sichuan and Guizhou province respectively) has become one of the most crowded roads in China. So on the land of 9,600,000 square kilometers, so long as there is human habitation, there will be Sichuan people.
The train reached Sichuan at about midnight, and it stopped at a station named “Shimenkan”. On the other side of coach, several railway policemen were playing poker enjoyably on a table that constituted by some crates. Suddenly, a peal of noise came from the seam of coaches.
A kind of behavioral reflex made these train policemen stand up at once, then opened the door and jumped into the darkness. I stood at the door, by means of the dim light of the station, I saw a silhouette running hell-for-leather along the railway, and policemen also chasing after the silhouette at their best.
They could not stride owing to the equidistant crossties beneath their feet, and they could only jump forward with uniform and rhythmic speed. Under the circumstance, even though Lewis (Carl Lewis, a famous short distance runner in America) perhaps could not run fast. Actually, speed is a sort of suitability. As expected, after listening gunshots, several perspiring train policemen came back to the train with a pity face from the other side of night.
Originally, on the train, owing to the hot weather, the passengers in carriage were opening the windows and sleeping, a thief took the handbags and clothes on the drawbar through the window. “The thief escaped”, I thought, “But the fate of the thief cannot escape”. I hoped the person who lost his property could think so, too.
火车开动起来，很快进入一条隧道，我也跨越时空，晃荡在遥远的川黔古道上。The train began to move and, quickly entered a tunnel. I also strode across space-time, and travelled on the remote ancient road linking Sichuan and Guizhou.
The Southwest Silk Road on the cliff was ordered to build by Li Bing, the prefect of Sichuan in the State of Qin during the Warring States Period. He gathered firewood to burn stones, and then watered to make stones burst.
Chang An, an officer of the State of Qin, continued to expand the road to Yelang of Guizhou and Wei county of Yunnan. He incorporated tribes along the road into the territory of the State of Qin. In Historical Records: “Chang roughly constructed five-foot road, and appointed some officials in these states to help managing.”
After the downfall of the Qin Dynasty, a series of roads in Southern Sichuan had been interrupted. Until the rule of Emperor Wu in Han Dynasty, Tang Meng, the magistrate of Fanyang County, submitted a written statement to the higher to remove obstacles of Yelang Road. Then he was appointed the Imperial Corps Commander. He went to Yelang with lavish gifts to enlist the marquis of Yelang Duo Tong in Han.
Jianwei prefecture in Yelang was set up in Han Dynasty, and thousands of soldiers in Ba and Shu (Ba and Shu mainly are Chongqing and Sichuan respectively) were ordered to cut through mountains and construct roads of more than two thousands Li. A great master of literature in the Western Han Dynasty, Sima Xiangru said: “In unparalleled time, there must be outstanding people, as well as unusual events, and then exists highlighted achievements”.
Sichuan people always have intense consciousness of “road” because of the historical influence. The nick name “Sichuan”, even has been kept from the Sichuan Road of Song Dynasty---Yi, Zi, Li and Kui.
In 1911, there were more than hundreds of thousands of people joining in the League of Protecting the Railway in Sichuan and breaking out an armed uprising as the prelude of Xinhai Revolution, which is to oppose the Qing government nationalizing the Chunhan and Yuehan Railway that founded by ordinary civilians and selling the right of building roads to the bank groups of Britain, France, Germany and America.
Highroad is under such a circumstance, the pathway also has the “Laoer” of “Zuoyakou” , which owns a momentum—“If one man guards the pass, ten thousands are unable to get through”, and all merchants who wanted to pass the way must hand in “road toll”, so that they can get through.
With the advancement of times, the implication of “road” has changed greatly. Nowadays, Chuan-Qian Road has dropped into the wild thickets, it has become the echo of history. There are not only spider-web-like highways connecting Sichuan and Guizhou, but also exist railway, waterway and airway.
The Chengdu-Chongqing Highway was built according to the Silk Road of Ba-Shu in those years, which could be praised as the First Road of Southwest in China; the highway from the north of Guizhou to Chongqing, the central city of the upper Yangtse River, is under consideration, too.
We arrived at Chongqing after ten o’clock the next day. As soon as we got off the train and felt the heat wave, I realized that making such a decision in this season was a mistake. Media played a role of exaggerating, saying that immigrates living in the area of the Three Gorges had already started off great migrations, after migrations, the entire scenery would be submerged.
I took a ship on the Yangtse River, but never on the Three Gorges. If I did not travel this time, perhaps regret would remain in my rest life. Besides, sightseeing itself was delighted, while adding an implication of farewell on it should be special as odd taste broad beans.
We had two bowls of porridge at a hostel, and booked a room. In the room, I switched on the air-conditioning to the freezing point, by this way we could sleep well on the bamboo mat. Reckoning the boarding time, we left the hotel and walked resignedly towards the Chaotianmen Wharf treading the squeaky asphalt road that melted by sun.
I was trembled when watching those Chongqing people eating hot pot stripping down their upper garment under the umbrella. My wife followed me, wearing a straw hat, and hurriedly fanned towards her white and tender face with a big fan in her little hand.
我想，不要为看那个垂死的风景，而把眼前这个天天都要照面的风景给破坏了，那可就冤了。I thought that I should not ignore the scenery before my eyes that I can see everyday instead of watching that moribund landscape. If I did this, it was unworthy and foolish.
From Chaotianmen Street to valley, it reminded me of a place which named “Caodi (the bottom of trough)”. I felt now I am really reaching at the bottom of trough. The wind was strong but spicy and burning.
Breathing in such wind, after a while, the fire would spurt in your lungs making your mouth parched and tongue scorched. Embarking on the ship “Wangyuanhao”, standing in the shade, and drinking aerated water then hiccupping, all those made me feel a little moist.
Meanwhile, I watched the rolling Yangtse River and Jialing River impacting and blending each other at river branch, I suddenly found that, as a basin, Sichuan unexpectedly had a return circuit like domestic appliances. Water seeks its own level, and rivers from all sides of mountains flow toward to basin. Only an instinct can promote lives overflowing from basin to plateau.
Thus, roads are especially important. So among the impregnable pass, Qinling Mountains in the north, the third level, Tibetan Plateau in the west, the strategically located and difficult of access, Kui Gate in the east, only the second level gentle slope, Yunnan-Guizhou Plateau in the south is the ideal way out.
I moved in the trough of destiny. Coming here, I had already been aware of this route that I chose was exactly the route that elder generations chose to migrate except the direction difference. This was very significant, and it kept me in a kind of uncertainty and expectancy. When we went to the Lesser Three Gorges of Da’ning River, I saw a ship was moving under the boat-trackers’ pull.
At dusk, the boat entered Wuxia Gorge. “Three gorges in Badong County, Wuxia Gorge is the longest, several apes’ sounds, the tears wet out cloth”, the emotion of this poem was engulfed by the engine’s whistle in the bilge. But suddenly, I saw a stretch of close-grained cobwebbing appearing at the knife-cut cliff in the left, it likes weathered faces piling up; or the giant’s chest streaked by a knife, oozing wisps of blackish-red blood tragically.
我没有去白帝城，也无心石宝寨，但我的飘忽和期盼已找着一种系挂。 “天门中断楚江开”是什么时候，这似乎无关紧要，而要紧的是它一直守 在那儿，成为一种见证。在这些岁月的痕迹里，我们每一个相关的人都能够看见一种对应，从而理解历史，也把握未来。
I did not go to Baidi City, as well as Shibao Fortress, but I found a fastener for my uncertainty and expectancy. The time of “Tianmen Mountain is cut by Chujiang River” seems inessential, the importance is that it always guarded there and become a witness. In these years, each of us related can see a type of correspondence to understand the history and master the future.
Our ship reached at Santouping at about midnight. Stars-like lamps’ light penetrated from the other side of darkness. I faintly heard the rumble of excavator and recalled the scene of “a smooth lake rises in a narrow gorge”, I surprisingly felt confused…
However, present is important, is not it? A choice itself is historical enough from beginning to decision, heavy and disputed, but it always has the same result. What else can we say? As the aim we want to achieve, we need to walk a long and curved path, but we would feel easy and justified when we visited the landscape and the found feelings.
Three days later, we lived at Lushan Mountain of the edge of Yangtse River enjoying the coolness and cleanness in the world. Recalling me the previous road, it was so dreamlike. Sushi (the famous litterateur, calligraphist and artist in the Northern Song Dynasty of China) said, “From the side, a whole range; from the end, a single peak. Far, near, high or low, there’s no two parts alike”.
Thick fog suffused Lushan Mountain in those days, giving us no luck to enjoy it. After all, a person who possesses good luck in anytime is impassible. Nevertheless, Lushan Mountain is a transfer station, and a long, hard journey needs such a transfer station. It is convenient for us to have a rest and clean up to continue forward.
一切都仿佛因为验证，我终于在江西发现黔北乡镇常见的封火墙，也听说那里从过年到十五，民间有举行 “提灯会”的乡俗，而在黔北遵义城里，红军到来的时候，也曾举行 “提灯会”……
Everything seems to verify something. I finally found the firewall that usually can be seen in villages and towns in the north of Guizhou. I also heard that folk custom of “lantern show” would be held during the New Year to the fifteen of the first month of lunar year. At Zunyi city in the north of Guizhou, “lantern show” was also held when the Chinese Workers’ and Peasants’ Red Army came here.
After coming back from Jiangxi province for a short time, I saw it on TV that a landslide broke out in Badong County at the Three Gorges that lied in the south coast of Yangtse River, which made me worried. Fortunately, the whole land did not fall into Yangtse River to clog the seaway. Although it perhaps is only a warning of road which last forever, it also starts the misfortune…
From the beginning of road to the end is a type of preordained fate. We quickly meet everything in the world, and seldom calm down to search deeply. We will say everything is natural. There is neither cause nor reason. We will be aware of how cursory and ignorant we are if we change a time and occasion in duration.
Each of us has a world, and ones’ heart is the sun, feeling is the plant; plant will wilt without sun; bodies we deposit lives will become the walking dead without plant. We can comprehend the instincts of ours, but we should respect our hearts much more. Owing to the fact that everyone bears instinct, but the heart belongs only to yourself. Many times, cause itself maybe is inessential even though it looks so vital.
However, such form of karma cannot be ignored and even if it is so inflexible and changeless. The arrangement of the Wise God perhaps is not to thoroughly study the nature of things, it is just a kind of promotion like Kafka’s never reached castle. Without this promotion, the sun of our hearts will never rise.
A river owns no thoughts but life, and the life relies on the existence of bank. There are also banks in our world. The banks are our lives’ association. They make us keep on and be in high spirits to observe things and check out the existences of ourselves.