When I was ten years younger than I am now, I had the carefree job of going to the countryside to collect popular folk songs. That year, for the entire summer, I was like a sparrow soaring recklessly. I would wander amid the village houses and the open country, which was full of cicadas and flooded with sunlight. I had a special affection for that bitter tea that farmers brew, there would always be a bucket of just that kind of tea under a tree by the ridge between the fields, and without a second thought I would ladle out enough to fill my tea-stained bowl. Once I'd filled it to the brim, I'd start bullshitting with some of the male workers. The girls would whisper among themselves and then stifle their chuckles as I'd swagger off. I once spent a whole afternoon talking with an old man who kept a melon patch. I ate more melons that day than I ever had in my life. When I stood up to leave, I suddenly realized that I had as much difficulty walking as a pregnant woman. Later that day, I sat on the porch with a woman who had already become a grandmother. As she weaved a pair of straw sandals she sang "Ten Month Pregnancy" for me. What I loved most was sitting before the peasants' houses just as dusk fell. As the sun's rays came down through the delicate branches, I would watch the peasants pour well water onto the ground, cooling the hot dust and sand. Holding the fan they passed over to me, I would try the pickled vegetables, which always tasted like salt. I would watch the girls and talk with the men.