Chen-ou Liu's Translation Project: First English-Chinese Haiku and Tanka Blog

Friday, June 10, 2011

Ripples of Life: A Haibun

Mount Yangming at dawn
the scent of plum blossoms
across our path

I was three years old the first time my family brought me to tour Mount Yangming. While they were immersed in the scenic view of lush greenery, I focused my attention on a little stone by the side road. “Oh, look ! This pretty pebble!” I exclaimed or I had been told that I said so. My mother repeated this story to me in varied versions on many occasions, particularly when she wished to make a point about how easily amused I was, or to remark on my ability to find joy in small things.

When I try to think back on this incident, I cannot remember any of it. There are no photographs or home videos recording that moment. I have no means of verifying whether or not this story is factually true, except through my faith in the eyewitness account of my mother.

I have heard this story so many times that the experience has become an inseparable chapter of my personal history, which experts refer to as “autobiographical” memory. To me, it is no longer important what actually happened, what the details of that moment were, or if my actions were misconstrued or reinterpreted through years of hindsight and recurrent recollection. My sense of self incorporates this story as if it were true.

Pacific shore…
I skip a pebble
across the water


Mt. Yangming is situated in the north of Taipei, the capital of Taiwan. It’s internationally known for its natural mountain streams, hot springs, waterfalls and forest parks. It is the first place Taipei residents would think of when stressed out or longing for relaxation.

published in Lynx, XXVI:2, June, 2011