Youth’s Watch

  In my teenage memory, the people of my hometown have a strong desire for a good harvest. Every autumn, they plan a year’s harvest, cherish the upcoming harvest, and look forward to the return of the pellets. Therefore, guarding the crops on autumn nights has become a must for male laborers.
  I graduated from junior high school and just turned fifteen, with a soft beard and a thin body, but I joined the male labor force early and was included in the list of the autumn vigil.
  Our crops are distributed on the west bank of the Jinniu River, far from the small river. The soil has good water retention and a large area of ​​rice is planted; the sandy beach near the small river is relatively loose and airy, and is full of corn, peanuts and tobacco leaves. Since these fruits are easy to pick, people must be sent to take care of them for fear that those who get something for nothing will “lead the sheep” at night.
  At this time of the year, the team will build a shack in advance in a conspicuous position by the river. A wooden bed is covered with straw to sleep, a few bamboo poles support two sun mats to prevent the wind, and a horse lantern is hung for lighting.
  The first vigil, I was very nervous, worried about what if someone came to steal, what should I do if I encountered the legendary river monster? Big brother said don’t go if you’re afraid, I’ll do it for you. And I knew that I had to pass this level sooner or later, so I just gritted my teeth; besides, there was a middle-aged elder brother who dared to accompany me.
  My mother also didn’t agree with my elder brother, so she only asked me to take the little yellow dog with me.
  After dinner, I set off. In addition to the necessary warm clothes, I also brought the novel “Fire King” and an extended three-section flashlight. When he was about to go out, he turned back to the house and brought his beloved bamboo flute with him. After thinking that he was fully prepared, he mustered up his courage and walked towards the shack with the little yellow dog.
  When he came, the middle-aged eldest brother was already in the shack, and the cigarette butt flashing in his hand was particularly eye-catching, and he was also very warm and down-to-earth. But after a few words of conversation, he said, tonight his wife gave birth to a baby, and he had to go back to wait and ask me to carry it for the night. Of course, giving birth to a baby is a big thing. At that time, it was difficult for the village to accurately predict the birth, and it was impossible to ask the team to replace the staff in advance. My heart flickered for a moment, and then I bite the bullet and promise: No problem, go back, eldest brother.
  Farewell, my eldest brother took me and the little yellow dog for a walk along the more than 100 acres of corn fields, peanut fields, and tobacco leaf fields, explaining some precautions as we walked. Check from time to time, and be calm and calm in case of situations; when necessary, you can ring the gong under the bed, and when the gong rings, the people in the team will come to help when they hear it, and so on. After the lap, the big brother went back to welcome the new life, leaving me alone on the beach.
  I found the gong that called the police and put it in a convenient place, lighted the lantern with a glass cover, opened the quilt and made the bed, lay down and listened to the rustling sound of the dry straw, I suddenly felt the fragrance of grass and sweat blending. Down-to-earth and kind. Then in a lonely low shack, a lamp, a book, a dog, a bed, and the vigil began. At first, my heart was a little beaten, but slowly, I became more comfortable. Facing the river bend, I remember when I was a child, often in the afternoon of this season, I invited my friends to swim in the small river and fight in the water, and got into the shack to play on the wooden bed together; Duanhewan was fishing at night, watching him cast a fishing net on the water that had been sprinkled with rice in advance, and soon there were fish jumping in the net… My heart gradually became relaxed and calm, and I had the confidence to spend this long night. .
  The best way to pass the time is, of course, reading books. I put on a coat to keep out the cold, and with the dim lanterns on, I opened a broken novel and watched how the martial arts team and Xiao Fei, who rode like the wind, fought with the Japanese invaders in the Jizhong Plain. Some nocturnal moths gathered around the lantern following the light, touching my cheek from time to time without even noticing it. A lot of time passed unknowingly in the progress of the wonderful storyline, until I felt a little sore in the waist. Putting down the book and stretching, I remembered my duty and mission. I hurriedly picked up the flashlight, called up the little yellow dog lying beside the bed, and followed the route I walked just now. stand up. Although the season is already early autumn, the evening wind in the first half of the night does not feel cold, and it even brings the heat of the day. I know that this is the season to cheer for the final maturity of the crops.
  The night is getting deeper and quieter, and the river is running tirelessly, rushing from north to south on the river beach; the night wind, which is gradually getting cooler, gently blows over the cornfield, blowing the corn leaves and touching each other, making a whisper. A rustling sound. Harmonious with this were the autumn insects chirping and singing in the grass, and even the night cicadas joined in, cheering for my first vigil together.
  The sandy field with peanuts and tobacco leaves was relatively quiet, only the swaying stems and leaves could be seen, but it was difficult to hear the whispers of their conversation. I don’t know when, the grass was covered with dew, and when I walked across the ridge with my feet, my trouser legs were soaked, and my ankles were cold.
  And the alert little yellow dog ran in front of him to explore the road with courage, and from time to time he ran into the crops. I knew it had found the target – those nocturnal weasels or voles. Whenever the dog has something to gain, it will come back to me with a “bark” twice, and I will squat down and touch its little head to show my affirmation and encouragement.
  A little man was patrolling a field of crops, like a general inspecting his troops, I involuntarily puffed out my chest, and even moved emotionally into the mature crops, gently stroking the bloated corn cobs like an old farmer. Seeds, bending over to perceive the fruits hidden in the sand by the peanuts, or opening the palms to measure the width and length of tobacco leaves, intoxicated with their ripe taste, and yearning for a good harvest in my heart. Because I know how real the meaning of a good harvest is, whether we will be able to feed our stomachs, whether our clothes will be warm in the coming year, whether our mothers will have a smile on their face.
  After patrolling with the little yellow dog, I sat back in front of the shack.
  The moon rose in the second half of the night, and the bright moonlight and the starlight in the sky illuminated my hometown like water, hugging the beach in front of me, making the silhouettes of corn, peanuts and tobacco leaves gradually clear, exuding a faint light. soft silver light. The moon also projected the figure of my little boy, along with the little yellow dog at my feet, and the silhouette of the low shack behind me, onto the sandy ground of this autumn night, forming a simple and abstract picture. This composition, titled “Country Boy”, is hazy for a while and clear for a while with the fluttering of clouds near the moon.
  The little yellow dog also seemed to have noticed the clear moonlight, and even stared at the crooked moon in a daze. A pair of small eyes, which were rolling, reflected the dazzling moonlight. Occasionally, it would bark twice towards the sleeping village on the other side of the river.
  Facing the river beach, the crops, and the moon, I threw myself on the bamboo flute, the tender and long flute, accompanied by the river and autumn insects, and in the stage atmosphere created by the moonlight, gently wafting, wafting gently. deliver……
  After putting down the bamboo flute, I took the little yellow dog and lit the flashlight, and walked around the inspection route of the crops. After making sure there was nothing wrong, I returned to the shack for the vigil. As soon as I got close to the shack, my whole body fell apart, and tiredness hit me like a tide, and instantly slapped me on the bed, and fell into a sweet sleep.
  The next day, when the sky was white with fish belly, the little yellow dog barked and woke me up. A cat emerged from the low shack. I looked at the quiet and quiet crops in the morning light, and reminisced about my first vigil. It felt like my coming-of-age ceremony. Come to steal, not even the trouble of the weather, everything is so quiet, solemn and meaningful.
  Bathing in the morning sun, I walked into the corn, peanuts and tobacco leaves I guarded again. I felt that they seemed to be the same as me. They matured a lot overnight, and the harvest was one step closer…

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