Ten Days Talk | Mai Xiang’s Young Time Accompanying

As people who grew up in the North China Plain, the vast wheat fields are our playground.

After the severe winter, the wheat seedlings woke up from their slumber. They seem to have turned cyan overnight. At this time, Lan Lan and I go to the wheat fields to dig for shepherd’s purse every day after school. Facing the tumbling barley waves, I often stopped my movements, sat there, smiled and sighed. At this time, a smell mixed with soil and fresh plant juice penetrated into my nostrils. I couldn’t help but take a deep breath. Ah, it smells so good.

Lan Lan ran to me and showed me the shepherd’s purse she had harvested. I asked her: Did you smell the wheat seedlings? “Well, it smells like grass.” Lan Lan said casually, “It smells like manure!” We giggled together.

She always believed in my words. From kindergarten to now, she has been my best friend. Wild vegetables, catch small insects. It’s just that our head teacher, Ms. Yan, thought that we were “talking too much in class” and forced us to separate us from the same table, but this did not affect our friendship at all. After school, we can still be together. It’s just that I spend more time watching the wheat fields, while Lan Lan is actually digging. In this way, every time I go home, half of the wild vegetables in my small cloth pocket are distributed to me by Lan Lan.

Under our gaze, after May, the wheat began to joint and head, and the heavy ears of wheat gradually lowered their heads to pay homage to the earth that gave them nourishment. Very sensible, no longer going to roll in the wheat fields, every time I walk by the wheat fields, I can smell a faint burnt fragrance, which is the smell of nutritious wheat grains lightly roasted in sunlight. We are looking forward to the arrival of the wheat harvest.

Finally, at the beginning of June, the fields are full of farmers who are busy harvesting wheat, and piles of wheat straw are glowing with golden light under the scorching sun. The peasants basted the grains of wheat that had shed their ears on the road from the factory where we lived to the urban area. At that time, there were few running cars, and the wide and long road became a huge drying field, and the air was filled with air. Freshly harvested wheat scent. Some classmates shared the puff pastry baked with new wheat flour for us to eat. Lan Lan said while eating that the fragrance of this cake has the green and astringent taste of spring green wheat. Yes, I nodded, and I had no doubts about her words.

One year, during the wheat harvest season, the school organized us to study farming—that is, to pick up ears of wheat. We were all stunned when the farmer waved his sickle with a swipe, and a handful of wheat fell to the ground. While the farmer was taking a break in the shade, he secretly picked up the sickle and waved it to the wheat bushes, but his little hand couldn’t catch a few wheat stalks. Home will not work hard, be careful to get hurt.

It’s said to be picking up wheat ears, but in fact, isn’t it going to play? We rub the ears of wheat we picked up in our palms, blow off the hard shells on the surface of the wheat grains, and threw the grains into our mouths and chewed them until a mass of gluten was chewed up, and the mouth was full of the fragrance of green wheat; Straw is used as a straw, sucks the soda, and then loudly announces his major discovery to his friends: soda has the aroma of wheat… Teacher Yan, who is usually stern, sees our group of naughty ghosts playing tricks frequently. No matter how harsh we are for being naughty, we show a smile like an old mother.

This flash is decades ago.

Rice is abundant in the suburbs of Shanghai where I live now, and occasionally I see wheat fields, just a small piece. If you want to see the endless Maihai, you can only go back to the north.

Like I often dream of Lan Lan and Teacher Yan, the wheat field that I grew up with is also an indelible dream in my memory. In this dreamland, the indispensible natural scent is the fragrance of wheat, which always comes with the rolling wheat waves, like a breath, which I can’t forget. (Li Jin)