And so, for fifteen years, I had to go to this old park, go under the old trees or next to the neglected weeds or beside the dilapidated walls, sit in silence or think blankly, break through the feelings of chaotic disarray that were all around me, and peep at my soul. In fifteen years, people who didn’t understand this old park had wantonly altered some of its design and structure. Fortunately, there were some things that no one could change about it.
For example, when the setting sun moves to the spot inside the stone arch of the altar, its rays spread across the ground and each rough spot on the ground is resplendent in the sunshine; or at the loneliest time in the park, a flock of swallows comes out and sings, their desolate song filling the space between heaven and earth; or the footprints children make in the snow in the wintertime, always leading people to wonder who they are, what they are doing there, and where they are going;
For example, the dark old cypresses: when you’re feeling melancholy, they are standing there sedately, and when you’re feeling happy, they are still standing there sedately—they’ve stood there since before you were born and will go on standing there until you are no longer in this world;
Or a sudden rainstorm in the park touches off a pure green and muddy earth scent, giving rise to memories of countless summer occurrences; or the autumn wind suddenly arrives, and there is an early frost, and falling leaves or tottering singing and dancing or calm and quiet sleep: the park is pervaded with an atmosphere of tranquility and a little bitterness.
Atmosphere is the most difficult thing to explain. My words can’t convey this atmosphere; you have to be there and smell it for yourself. It’s hard to remember, too: only when you smell it again will it bring back all the feelings connected with it. And so I must often go back to this park.