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Fragrance Forever

By Jin Yu Tian
  THE SMELL of wood, refreshingly sweet, greeted me even before I sat down at the round table. As if breathing along with the trees, I felt a simple, primitive joy when admiring those furniture and home articles shaped and carved out of cedar in the heritage museum village of San Antonio, an old-time riverside town down south in the United States. (来源:EnglishCN英语博客基地)

  The craftsman, Arnold, came from a family of carpenters. As a Vietnam War veteran, he related to me, a visitor from Asia, how he had fought against the Vietcong guerrillas in the jungle.

  His dearest memory, he said, was that of a medley of tropical smells of the rain forest, in which he had to move with the utmost caution, trembling with fear that the lurking enemy would attack from anywhere, any moment. What calmed him down, he recalled, was the fragrance of wood as he, holding his rifle, was lying prone against the trunk of a large tree, sticking himself to the coarse bark.

  After the war, Arnold started to live by working on wood, like his ancestors. Among his finest carpentry works was a rocking-chair, in which his daughter was now seated, reading. I picked out a tube-shaped pot with a lid. Chiselled out of a block, the objet d'art well preserved the material's colour in various shades, the clear annual rings, the original cracks and nodes -- what a reminder of the mystique of life!

  Lifting the lid, I savoured the fragrance of wood, feeling the natural power that had helped Arnold overcome his fear -- fragrance in war, which sounds like a poet's nonsense. (Translated by Allen Zhuang)
 


留香

● 金雨田(散文)
  圆圆的桌子,还没坐定,便感觉到清香沁人心脾。在美国南方过气小城圣安多诺水乡文化村,欣赏木匠采雪松木巧雕家具用品,有与林木同呼吸的原始心情。

  阿诺出身木匠世家,在越南打过仗,对我这亚洲人述说在莽林中游斗越共时的陈年往事。他说,面对随时出没的敌人而心惊胆战、步步为营时,最不能忘怀的是嗅取热带雨林的诸种气味。

  他说,持枪伏靠大树旁,贴着老树皮,树的味道,安定了他的心。

  退伍后,继承祖艺,雕木为生。他女儿坐着读书的摇摇椅,便是他的杰作。我选了一个木块凿空而成的圆筒子,木色深浅有致,年轮清晰,筒身裂纹自然,树眼存蒂,令人想到生命的奥秘。

  掀盖闻香,那可还是阿诺征服恐惧的天然力量——战争里的香味,听起来像是诗人的胡扯。
 

 
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