Life

Joha, Joha

  When I saw Sam for the first time, this woman in her thirties with a slightly stooped waist was sleeping in the same tent as a female yak.
  It was an evening in late autumn, and the blades of grass were covered with chill. The early winter on the plateau got into the thick clothes and pierced the body like needles. When I came to Sam’s house alone, I saw Sam walking towards a small tent with a mattress in his arms. She saw me, put the mattress at the door of the small tent, walked over with a smile on her face, bent slightly in front of me, and invited me into the big tent where the family lives with great enthusiasm.
  She made me sit in front of the blazing steel stove, quickly poured a bowl of hot tea and handed it to me. In the warm tent, the chill disappeared in an instant, and the body warmed up in an instant. I took a sip of tea and asked Sam with a smile, why are you moving the mattress to the tent? As she lifted the steel furnace cover and added some dry cow dung cakes, she told me in a low voice that a female yak was about to give birth, and she had to take care of it so that it could give birth to a healthy calf .
  I hold the teacup. Another small sip. A strong warmth poured from his throat to his heart.
  On the plateau, under the heavy snow, outside the short spring, the living conditions are extremely difficult. Yak, a species that only lives above and below the snow line, is the fundamental existence that helps highland herdsmen overcome natural difficulties to survive. I am also from the plateau, and I know very well that Sam takes care of the mother yak that is waiting to give birth like a relative. That is a relative of the Sam family, and one of their reliance on survival. How could they not take good care of them?
  Maybe people and animals sleep together in tents cannot be truly understood. But this is the plateau people’s understanding and expression of love and survival. Just like Sam, on the plateau, no one will regard yaks and other livestock as aliens, and no one will keep a distance from them, even if it is an extremely friendly distance.
  Sam picked up the teapot again, filled my tea bowl, and then gently and shyly motioned me to drink tea, you are welcome. I told her that I wanted to go to the small tent to see the expecting female yak. She laughed, said yes repeatedly, and quickly opened the tent door for me.
  I walked into the small tent with her one after the other. The female yak waiting to give birth was lying quietly, eating hay. Sam walked over, squatted down, gently stroked the belly of the female yak, and told me back that she might give birth tomorrow or the day after tomorrow. An expression of extreme happiness instantly appeared on her face. The female yak also looked at her with extremely calm eyes.
  On the plateau, herders use yak hair to weave tents to keep out the cold, and eat yak milk and yak meat to supplement protein and improve cold resistance. When relocating pastures, yaks are the most important means of transportation, and they are porters without complaint or regret. In the rare leisure time, they are the children’s running aids. When the children rode on the backs of the yaks and sprinted with whips, the grasslands were full of liveliness and vitality.
  Sam moved his hand to the face of the female yak and gently stroked it, as if lovingly stroking the cheek of his own child. I was watching this person and one bull next to me, feeling a pair of loving hands brushing over my face, soft and warm. I smiled at the yak and it moved its lips towards me. I knelt down, picked up a handful of hay, and handed it to its mouth… It chewed it mouthful, and kept its eyes on me. That look, also like a relative. At this moment, I seem to have a deeper understanding of Sam’s mind.
  I also stroked its cheek like Sam. Sam was talking to me while moving her mattress into the small tent deftly.
  There are not too many yaks in Sam’s family, only twenty or thirty yaks. In the plateau, there are too many families like Sam’s family. There are not many yaks, the conditions are not too good, the economy is a little tight, and life is extremely simple. But one thing is the same – their love and understanding for yaks is almost the same as their love and understanding for people, especially their relatives. They don’t say it, but they know that without yaks, people are fragile and unable to survive on this bitter cold plateau. In other words, their survival on the plateau is largely due to the help of yaks. The shepherds, who are well versed in the way of gratitude, express their love for yaks in the simplest way of expressing love. They sing to yaks, dance to yaks, beg for life from yaks, and spend their lives to yaks.
  Just like the libretto in a Tibetan love song: Brother, I don’t want your gold and silver mountains, I only want your yaks to be as fat as mountains… Yaks are not only the lifeblood of the plateau, but also the integrity of the shepherd’s hard work, wisdom, love and compassion Express. This kind of expression, simple and real, is like a piece of dry cow dung cake, burning in the steel furnace, driving away the whole winter for the shepherds.
  At noon the next day, Sam came to me happily and probably told me that the female yak named Gala had finally given birth. She wanted me to see the little yak, share this happiness with her, and give the little yak a name. I went to the little tent with Sam. The little yak lay quietly beside Gala, it was black all over, with a triangular white patch on its forehead. Sam squatted down and picked up the little yak, handed it to me and said, you can hug it too.
  I hugged a baby yak, and it was a bit difficult. “This little big guy is really heavy, and it feels very healthy!” I looked at the newborn baby yak in my arms, and my heart was filled with emotion—Sam must have brushed against it.
  Call it Ruoha, I like the name. Sam gave another low, slightly shy smile. Said: Just call it Ruoha, I like this name. She took Ruoha from my hand, hugged it in her arms, and softly called its name: Ruoha, Ruoha, Ruoha…

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