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     By Quek See Ling 文:郭诗玲
  Living with the Land, Singing to the Chickens
《与地共生、给鸡唱歌 》 40 - popularnews 127
Igot a fright this morning. My eyes were fixed on a spot of green on the rose plant that I had been plucking withered leaves
off of. It turned out to be a tiny grasshopper.
I had yet to calm down from the fright, my face covered in sweat. Indeed, I was an urbanite hardly accustomed to working in the fields. Even if I had always loved nature, learning to live in, and engage with, nature does not happen overnight. Hence, I have great admiration for Lee Ying-Ying, author of Living with the Land, Singing to the Chickens, who has courageously uprooted herself from her urban life and its various conveniences, moving from a high-rise building in the suburbs of Taipei to a small white cottage in Yilan, raising chickens and growing vegetables, “a grain of sand in the Yilan Plain”, living the agrarian life.
Sincere Words, Deep Reflection
I knew nothing about the book’s contents before purchasing it, and was purely attracted to its cover and the blurb. Once I started reading, I could not put it down. The writing was tender and delicate, yet free and wise. In both life and writing, Lee shows deep reflection, great approachability, and most of all, sincerity – every word, every sentence comes straight from the heart.
The book is divided into four chapters:
“The Little Cottage”, “Love Poems for Chickens”, “Riverside Vegetable Garden”, and “A New Life”. Apart from the occasional short notes or poems, the bulk of the pieces are longer pieces of prose that are accompanied by fun illustrations by Fanyu, making for a pleasant reading experience. Among them, “Eponymous: Love Poems for Chicken” is an adorable poem that I am especially fond of, with lines that candidly express the author’s love for chickens: “Never once thought I’d love chickens/But I dream of them repeatedly/ Water-drinking, therapeutic/Grain-eating, abundance/In moments of confusion, you tilt your head/And when it gets dark, you grow most anxious [...]”. The uncomplicated writing and themes of love fit seamlessly, without turning esoteric or pretentious.
Facing Difficult Truths
Compared to love, letting go is even more difficult. Hence, the book’s most admirable point is how the author faces the reality of sending her chickens to the slaughter. In my youth, I experienced the heart-breaking side of life. With the passing of a pet, I cried for a month. Yet, despite a heavy heart, Lee eventually chose to face this with an attitude of openness and gratitude, using every part of the chicken in cooking – the gizzard, liver, heart, intestines, breast, wings,
Returning to the Fields “鸡”情的归园田居
LeeYing-Ying’s LivingwiththeLand,SingingtotheChickens describes the emotions of urbanites returning to an agrarian lifestyle.
李盈莹《与地共生、给鸡唱歌》,以朴实真诚的文字, 尽述城市人回归自然田野的心情。

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