︎ Jing

Office worker
Tongliang, Chongqing, China
translated by PaiPai

While the countryside seems open and unguarded, it might be the safest paradise during the epidemic. Numerous checkpoints have been set up in the villages, and vehicles from other places are strictly forbidden to enter, making it feel like we were truly isolated from the rest of the world.

In the mountains, there are less lights but more stars. The courtyards and streets of the neighborhood are tight and narrow. Traversing the dark alleyway from my backyard to my neighbor’s somehow made me think of the stories I heard as child about my elders’ experiences in tunnel warfare.

Typically, I would come back here for three or five days during the holidays. This time, being trapped in the mountains because of the outbreak, I ended up spending more than two months here with my elderly parents.

Life’s usually quiet here in the countryside, but now it’s rather busy. Many young people who work year-round in the city have no choice but to stay and can be seen fishing in the fields or rebuilding firewood houses.

If I happened to cross a busy scene, I would naturally pull tight my face mask and assume proper social distancing. However, for many of the locals here, regardless of the epidemic’s severity, doing away with social customs and closeness is much more difficult.

︎ 靖