The Matchbook Diaries

Country Life in Shanghai May 18, 2024

Scary mannequins last week at the fabric market.

It’s been a glorious spring.  Nights we take a long scooter ride through the countryside just a few minutes from the outskirts of the city.  We are lucky that we live on the very, very edge of the city.  They just finished preparing the fields for rice.  We watched them drag tractors through 6-8 inches of water, swishing back and forth whilst the heron watched and then caught the insects that were released by the water cultivation.  There must have been 30 or 40 heron on each field.

So last night we were out at twilight and there was a very, very old woman heading out to her plot to care for her crop.  She had a bucket of water and then, slung over her shoulder was the huge handmade ladle she uses to water.  The ladle, which is common for farmers in our area, is made of a wooden pole from a broken hoe and then, attached, a hard hat.  Oh how I loved hers – it was a red hard hat that had seen years and years of use.  I LOVE it that it was once on the head of a working man, protecting him, and now it is in the hands of a farmwoman, feeding her.

I would never own a car unless it was necessary.  In Tanzania it was necessary for safety.  And in the US it is necessary – but I always roll down the windows, even in mid summer, I LOVE the wind in my face and the smells and everything.