The Last Quarter of the Moon
From the Mountains
to the Sea
The birth of a literary work resembles the growth of a tree. It requires favorable circumstances.
Firstly, there must be a seed, the Mother of All Things. Secondly, it cannot lack for soil, nor can it make do without the sunlight’s warmth, the rain’s moisture or the wind’s caress.
In the case of The Last Quarter of the Moon, however, first there was soil, and only then was there a seed. For this land that turns muddy as the ice thaws in the spring, is shaded by green trees in the summer and is covered by motley leaves in the autumn and endless snow-white in the winter, is very familiar to me.
After all, I was born and raised on this land. As a child entering the mountains to fetch firewood, more than once I discovered an odd head-shape on a thick tree trunk. Father told me that was the image of the Mountain Spirit Bainacha, carved by the Oroqen.
I knew the Oroqen were an ethnic minority who lived on the outskirts of our mountain town. They resided in their open-top cuoluozi (teepees) where they could spy the stars at night. In the summer they fished in their birch-bark canoes, and in the winter they hunted in the mountains wearing their parka and roe-deerskin boots. They liked to go horse riding, drink liquor and sing songs. In that vast and frigid land, their small tribe was like a pristine spring trickling deep in the mountains. Full of vitality, yet solitary. Read the rest of this entry »