This morning, after spending time at a worship ceremony in a pagoda I came to Sword Lake. I needed a little time to enjoy the beauty of it – it was quite a while I did not come there. It was cool, rather cloudy. Although it was a Saturday morning, it was not as crowded as other Saturday. Perhaps many people wanted to spend their time in a pagoda, I thought. Let me write a little about this time of a year. It was 12th seventh lunar month now – many people come to pagodas from now to 15th to pray for their ancestors. 15th will be the biggest day that all families offer fruits, food, paper joss things to their beloved ones who passed away and all homeless deceased people. It is the day of forgiveness that we call “xá tội vong nhân”. We pray for all deceased people get out of bad things and come to heaven. It is also call “Vu Lan” – seen as mother day – people thank their mother. There will be a big ceremony in pagodas to show grateful to all mothers. People whose mothers are alive will be received a red rose while the other will be received a white rose.
Well, back to my trip around Sword Lake. I enjoyed walking and seeing the green color of water and many evergreen trees. It was nice to see some golden shower flowers at this time. I was thinking of leaving when I saw an old man – he looked like the man in my fairy stories with white hair, white beard and white clothes. Yes, when I saw him I told myself “Oh my God, he looks like a fairy”. He stopped at a bench, put his small bag beside and started to blow a tiêu (a kind of flute?). It is the biggest tiêu I’ve ever seen. I could not take my eyes off him. The melody touched my heart. I hurriedly sat down on a bench next to him, listened to the magical sound.
Mr Châu – the old man blows bamboo flutes on the lakeshore (picture's from internet)
Someone said that the old man was rather famous and was on some papers. Wow, I would find more information about him then. Many people stopped and took pictures of him. He seemed not to notice anything but his music. When he rested a bit to drink water, people asked him something and he answered them with smiles. A little boy walking with his father came. The boy looked at him for some seconds and touched the tiêu. His father warned him with his angry eyes but the old man stopped, smiled to the little one and said he could sit beside him if he liked. The little one was very glad. After that, when they continued walking, I heard the boy asked his father if he could come there tomorrow. I believed he would remember the old man for a long time.
He kept playing for a hour or more, I’m not sure. When he was playing, a young man said aloud that he saw the giant tortoise and people got curious, tried to take a picture of the legendary tortoise as usual. I wondered if the tortoise wanted to listen to the nice music. I saw myself whispering while listening to “Chị tôi” (my sister) and “lòng mẹ” (mother’s heart). The old man put his tiêu into its special bag. I thought he would leave so I came to thank him. The man smiled and said that he usually came there every Saturday morning. I surprised why I had not met him before. “The tortoise comes to listen to my music” – he said proudly before leaving. I went back to my cozy corner, singing some songs.