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This summer on the train back to my hometown Yuyao I reflected on theday I had left home by train four years previously At that time Icould have never known that my lifes journey could follow such anabsurd path I found my roots in exile The notion of rootlessnessappears to contradict the very idea of roots However there is noincongruity between the two ideas and rootlessness can lead to a senseof belonging it is an important experience to be in a strange placebecause I believe that neither rootlessness nor roots is dispensableRather we must strive to find harmony in both ideas being deeplyrooted while also driftingDuring my childhood I lived with my grandparents in the village ofYuyao Waxberry trees covered the mountainsides The waxberry harvestperiod was fairly short so the task of harvesting an entire mountain ofthese trees was not easy As transportation of the fruit wasinconvenient and undeveloped at the time the villagers had no choicebut to wolf down the berries desperately on site Sometimes my friendsand I ate the waxberries on the tree all day long and ended up having torun to Shanglin Lake to sooth our acidic mouths The lake was very clearas I waded into the water and I could see many glossy potsherds undermy feet I picked them up and observed them carefully the uniformlythick bowls with shiny glazes were of much better quality than thefragile coarse bowls the villagers used I gazed at the potteryconfused had there been many wealthy families living here My friendsand I threw the potsherds across the lake in such a way that theybounced off the surface of the water and we competed with each otherfor the most times our pieces would skip After our fun was through thepottery pieces all sank back into the lake along with their secrets I stepped onto the train to Shanghai in 2009 after I had eaten my fillof the waxberries and bowed to my ancestral grave I learned
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