Summer morning comes like Rabbit leaping out of his burrowed den, whiskers twitching, feet kicking back silt and sand as he bounds toward a fresh earth. The trees wear their new green clothes, leaves waving softly as though beckoning the cicadas out of their dens, calling on them to sing their cacophonous chorus in what is a sure sign of the season.
The south of China promises only grace and humidity this time of year, and everywhere there are rice fields so massive the hills look like they are melting, layers of crop and alleyways of water sweating off the terraced grass. Nestled in between the towering striations are villages with thatched roofs where the farmers live, going barefoot out the door and sloshing knee-deep in the water, threshing by hand or sickle once the grains turn yellow, morning and afternoon until the crane resting one-legged in the field retires and a sunset bleeds over the horizon, soft beige and blazing orange mixing like custard and egg yolk.
The evening gallops by, and a rice paddy snake slithers in search of fish and frogs. The newly released cicadas, perched a few miles over on a tall tree, will start their chorus anew. Villagers meander their way around town as the last stitch of light disappears from the sky’s edges. Doors creak shut and incense is lighted, the fumes blanketing the remaining starchy scents of bao and pork dumplings.
Here, it is impossible to tell the time if not for the cycles of moon and mud, the constant of dust and dew that keeps Rabbit in time with his steps. The stars twinkle on, and the rice stalks stretch to the moon, the grass colored fortune-emerald with hope.
Editors: Quill L. & Sydney O.
Image Source: Sam Balye, Unsplash