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I am thankful for my grandparents



Joined: 11/28/2010
Posts: 2
yrs00191
Walking down the brown road of earth, I see the storm—whirling over the mountains. The scene darkens with the moisture thickening. Still the sound doesn’t reach here, but occasional flashes…
I’m walking with my grandfather. In Miryang, where he began his life. He grew up here, with no father but with three female siblings; his father died in Japan without any reason, as far as we know, during Japanese colonization, leaving my grandfather the only male in the household. He had started his life in spite, yet here I saw his smile next to me as he showed me what he had set up for over seventy years of his life: his lands that he had ploughed for half a century, the village he has dedicated himself.
Had it been a hundred years ago, it would have been different: all of family members will live in his house, respecting him as an ancestor. All fifteen of us-his sons, daughters, daughters-in-law, grandsons, and more-would have lived with him. But things have changed. His sons in Seoul, his daughter near Busan, we all live apart. Still more, I will move to US. Although he has carved out his life, this time, he cannot do as he wishes.
But no regret or wistfulness I found there. Having stayed in Miryang for four days with my grandparents, I had observed how fondly they got along, and how content they were. In many ways, my grandparents all so resemble this village, this land: as the air was, soft and sweet air; and as the land was, embracing and comforting. The black mountains that surround this earthen city remind me of my orientation, called Go-Hiang.
Across the green tiles of farmlands, two generations reach a bridge that situates over a stream and that connects the zone of earth and yellow-brown city of people. Four town’s women have come out for breeze. There was no other male. My grandfather and I stand along the seated women and lean on the bridge. Flash. The storm is coming. But the heaven above my head only shows stars and the transparent universe…
Once, in my hometown, Seoul, I often wandered around my house when strong winds blew and rain hit hard. I stood on the road, taking shower with raindrops, letting people pass by my sides. But then, I also love to feel the vastness of sky and universe and feel myself in this world, a feeling of expansion and smallness. Such a weird feeling that is.
Standing on the two very separate cultures and lives, I feel pride and gratefulness. I have somewhere to return, always. Here, this is my root, my life’s starting point. Looking around, I find a dog, sniffing at my leg, and sitting down next to me. Sitting down beside the stranger, I scratch his back and we look at the storm together. Wind blows but storm seems far away still. My grandfather smiles at me, his wrinkles like mountain’s surface…
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