Everyone spends the winter alone in his own life.

Life is like the four seasons, with the scorching heat of summer and the freezing cold of winter. That is why life has gained value. We walked through the scenery of life, from one end to the other …

The cold wind blew through.

The snow fell where it had fallen in those years. I have not paid attention to them. More important than falling snow began to come into life. At the age of 30, I seem to be indifferent to the coming of this winter, but I seem to have been listening to the sound of falling snow, expecting another snowfall to cover villages and fields quietly.

I sat quietly in the room, with a few slices of steamed buns baked on the stove and a small plate of salted vegetables on the wooden stool beside the stove. The light in the room was dim. After a long time, I still remember that on such a snowy day, I hugged the stove, ate pickles and steamed buns, and thought about some people and things. I thought deeply and deeply. The firewood was burning in the stove, the fire was red, my hands and face were burning hot, but my back was still chilly. The cold wind is blowing in through a crack in the door that I can’t see. Winter came to the village again and came to my home. I moved everything that was afraid of freezing into the house, pasted the windows and hung the cotton curtain of last winter, but the cold wind came in. It knows every tiny crack in the wall better than I do.

Just the day before, I seemed to have a premonition of heavy snow coming. I chopped enough firewood to burn for half a month and neatly packed it under the window sill. Sweep the yard clean, inadvertently like to meet a long-lost VIP – sweep some things in life aside to make a clean place to let the snow fall. In the afternoon, I also walked out of the village and took a turn in the field. I did not take care of the sunflower stalks that I had cut back. I will stand in the snow for a winter. Every year before it snows, one or two things are found to be neglected and put aside for a winter. In winter, how many people put aside one year’s events and touch their whole life with their ice hand like me.

The room is darker, I can’t see the snow. But I know the snow is falling, falling all over the sky. On the roof and the woodpile, on the swept yard, on the road far and near. I will not go out until the snow has settled. I don’t like in the past, every time the first snow, with inexplicable excitement, standing under the eaves watching for a while, or naked into the snow, as if to let snow know that there is a person like me, but I don’t know that the cold has long been pegged to my young life alive.

After many winters, I gradually realized that I couldn’t hide from the snow any more. Whether I was curled up in the house or in another place in winter, the swirl of snow would fall in the period of time I was experiencing. When one’s years are as open as a wilderness, he can no longer take care of himself.

Just like now, I am tightly around the stove, trying to heat myself up. One of my bones was exposed to the cold wind outside the house, causing a faint pain. It was a bone that I froze many years ago. I can no longer pick it up like a cow bone and bake it by the fire. It froze forever on the snowy road before dawn. I was 14 years old that winter, driving a bullock cart to the desert to pull firewood. At that time, all the villagers lived in a desert shrub called Haloxylon ammodendron to keep warm for the winter. Because of continuous cutting and digging, the place with firewood is getting farther and farther away. It often takes a day in the middle of the night to pull back a load of firewood. Every time I pull firewood, my mother gets up in the middle of the night to cook a meal, pack water and steamed buns, and wake me up. Sometimes my father would get up and help me set up the car. My understanding of cold began at those nights.

As soon as the bullock carts came out of the village, the cold swarmed in from all directions, wiping out all the warmth you brought out of your home, leaving you cold all over.

Troy Moth’s Painted Scenery Photography

That night was no colder than other nights.

Only this time, I drove the bullock carts into the desert alone. In the past, when ox carts came out of the village, they would hear the sound of other ox carts moving along the snow road far and near and the faint shouts of drivers. As long as the road is tight, it will catch up with one or several ox carts to pull firewood. A long line of carts will slow down in the lead-gray winter night. I don’t feel cold at night. Because the cold wind was blowing on several people, several oxcarts from the same village, the neighboring village, the people who knew and did not know resisted the cold on this night road.

This time, a wild cold wind blew on me alone. It seems that the cold has cleaned up everything else. Now all against me.

I tuck in my sheepskin coat and lie motionless in the ox cart. I dare not yell at the ox so as not to let more cold find me. From that night I learned the hidden warmth – in the bitter cold wind, the warmth in my body is retreating step by step to a hidden and sometimes even difficult to find myself in a deep distance – and I used this hidden warmth sparingly for many years of love life. My relatives said that I am a very cold person, no, I gave you all the warmth I have.

Many years later, there was a cold wind, and when it hit me from the depths of my heart, which I thought was hot and warm and never immersed by the cold, I found it useless to wear thick cotton-padded clothes. Life itself has a winter, it has come.

At daybreak, the ox cart finally reached the place where there were firewood. One of my legs was frozen stiff and I lost my feeling. I tried to jump out of the car with my other leg, moved for a while with a wood stick, and lit a pile of fire for a while, barely able to walk. A bone in my leg was painful. It was a pain I had never experienced before. It was like sticking needles into bone and drilling into bone marrow. The pain lasted until all the cold days in winter and summer.

As it was getting dark, I returned home with half a cart of firewood. As soon as my father saw me, he asked me: How did you get this wood? It was not enough to burn it in two days. I didn’t say a word, nor did I tell my family about my leg freezing.

Troy Moth’s Painted Scenery Photography

I think it will warm up soon.

If the winter is shorter and the stove in the house is lighter, if I take this leg seriously, maybe I can warm up. But not now. How many seasons have passed, and tonight I am hugging the stove, never warming up the distant winter I am; I fell into a hole in the ice on my way to school and ran back covered in ice. I waited anxiously outside a door, stamping my frozen feet and covering my ears … I can no longer call them back to this warm stove. I have prepared a lot of firewood for this winter. I’m only 30 years old, and I’m sure I can walk through winter.

But around me, there must be someone else who can’t spend winter like me. They were kept. Winter always chills a person year by year, first one leg, one bone, one expression, one mood … then the whole life.

One cold morning, I let a passer-by covered in frost into the house and poured him a cup of hot tea. It was an elderly man with many cold winters on him. When he sat by my fire, the fire turned pale in an instant. I didn’t ask his name. On the other side of the stove, I felt the chill of an old man coming towards me.

He didn’t say a word. I think what he said must have been frozen stiff. It will take a while before it melts away.

After sitting for about half an hour, he stood up, nodded at me, opened the door and left. I thought he was getting warmer.

The next afternoon, people said that a man froze to death in the west of the village. I ran over and saw this elderly man lying on the side of the road with half his face buried in the snow.

The first time I saw a man freeze to death.

I can’t believe he’s dead. There must be some warmth in his life, but we can’t see it. We cannot see the last faint struggle. We can’t hear the calls and moans.

We think he is dead. I’m completely frozen.

How can he keep a little warmth? On what to keep. His old cotton-padded clothes with holes rotten and cotton exposed. The bottom of the shoe is worn fast, and the side of the shoe has fallen off? And his mood is colder than how many winters combined? ……

We cannot see all the snow that falls in one’s life. Everyone spends the winter alone in his own life. We can’t help anyone. My small fire is obviously a drop in the ocean for this poor person. His cold is too great.

I have an aunt who lives in a village on the other side of the river. In those winters many years ago, our brothers often walked hand in hand through the frozen river to visit her. Every time before leaving, my aunt would always say, ” it’s hot, let your mother come and cry.”

My aunt is very old and ill, and she is always worried that she will not survive winter. As soon as it was cold, she stayed indoors, snuggling in a low earth room, holding the stove, waiting for spring to come.

Troy Moth’s Painted Scenery Photography

When a person is old, he is so eager for spring. Although spring has come, she does not have a leaf to sprout or a half flower to bloom. Spring only comes to the earth and other people’s lives. But she still longs for spring. She is afraid of cold.

I have not forgotten my aunt’s words, and I have passed them on to my mother more than once. Mother just looked at me and was busy with her work. The mother is not alone in the winter. She has five or six children who haven’t grown up. She has to pull them through the winter without letting any of them get cold. She looks forward to spring like her aunt.

…… It’s hot, my mother will take us across the river to visit my aunt in the village across the river. My aunt will also walk out of the mud house where she lived for one winter, basking in the warm sun in the courtyard and talking and laughing with us … how many years have passed, and we have not waited for this spring. It seems that the ” day” in my aunt’s sentence has not been hot.

My aunt died one winter several years later. I went home for the Chinese New Year. I remember it was the fourth day of the first year of the year. I accompanied my mother back along a road that was about to thaw. My mother told me about my aunt’s death on that road. She said, ” Your aunt is dead.”

Mother said so insipid, as if to say a thing that has nothing to do with death.

” How did you die?” I seem to ask more insipid.

My mother didn’t answer me directly. She just said, ” Your eldest brother and your younger brother went to help with the funeral.”

After a while, we didn’t say it again, just walked quietly. As she approached the door, her mother said, ” it’s getting hot.”

I looked up at my mother, her body was steaming, perhaps because of walking, but the weather really turned hot. This winter is over for my mother.

” It’s getting hot and noisy.” I remembered my aunt’s words again. This spring no longer belongs to my aunt. She survived many winters and was retained by this winter. I think that my grandparents also died in the winter several years ago. Mother is still alive. We will have fewer and fewer relatives in the world. I told myself that no matter it is cold or hot, we should always come and sit with our mother.

The mother raised her seven children. She is old. The seven children we have grown up may be able to shield our mother from the cold. Every time the children return home, the mother will be especially happy, and the home will immediately add a lively atmosphere.

However, my mother’s gray temples clearly make me feel that winter has come for her alone, and the snow and frost are beginning not to recede and melt – whether spring comes or the filial piety and warmth of children take good care.

After 30 years of such living distance, I feel my mother’s cold heart alone in winter. There is nothing I can do.

The snow is getting heavier and heavier. It was completely dark.

I hugged the stove and warmed up a moment in my long life. I know that beyond this moment, the rest of my years, the years of my loved ones, are far away in the snow outside the house, and are blown away by the cold wind.