Dialogue, when the moon casts its shadows on splashing waves

A Day of the Sea

我是從《日常藍調》一書認識徐至宏(HOM)的,今年六月他又推出了新作 《大海的一天》(A Day of the Sea),他是一位很會寫也很會畫的台灣男孩。2020年的上半年,全球人類不是在恐懼就是在無聊中渡過,過了夏至,被太陽曬得尖叫的背部提醒了我,不只是時間的過去,疫情也有所緩減,像潮水退去,我們都不知道下一個大浪、洪水是何時到來,但此刻,在閱讀中的我得到了片刻的平靜。

《大海的一天》分成四個段落,包括:海的日記 A Day of the Sea、海上靜物 Still Life by the Sea、海的魔術 The Magic of the Sea和海邊散步Strolling along the Seaside,以作者旅居蘭嶼、馬祖和基隆的畫作配以文字成書。

I first knew about HOM from the book Daily Blues, and this June, he published a new book titled A Day of the Sea. He is a Taiwanesse who excels at both writing and drawing. The first half of 2020 witnessed citizens around the globe living either in fear or in boredom. After the summer solstice, my sun-burned back was screaming at me, reminding me not only of the passage of time, but also of the slowing pandemic, like retreating waves. We do not know when the next major wave or flood will arrive, and at this very moment, I have managed to gain some moments of peace through reading.

A Day of the Sea is divided into four sections, namely “A Day of the Sea”, “Still Life by the Sea”, “The Magic of the Sea”, and “Strolling along the Seaside”, featuring the author’s drawings during his stay on Orchid Island, Matsu Islands and in Keelung City, accompanied by his writings.








On Outlying Islands

Is it true that people who have never lived on an outlying island can never understand island residents’ leisurely and tranquil way of life? Perhaps it is only that those living on the mainland have forgotten this feeling of tranquility that calms you when your eyes meet the sea.

“I used to live on Lamma Island. It was a life in which you unintentionally embarked on self-reflection and observation of the world. Even though I no longer live by the sea, the sound of waves still

reach my eyes whenever I close my eyes,” I said while turning the pages of A Day of the Sea.

“Whenever I want to unwind, I will always shut my eyes, and the sound of waves will flow into my mind, which goes sa sa sa, like inside an hourglass, and there come images of white waves, coming and going, as though they were carrying away waves of emotions, be them happy or sad, which depart with the waves and start over again.” He responded.

“During the first half of this year, people had lived in anxiety, and I thank you for publishing A Day of the Sea at this time.” I turned over a few more pages.

“Island residents are not necessarily more capable of enduring hardships than city dwellers. However, thanks to transportation and weather conditions, they have long been accustomed to a daily life that is plain and simple. Looking at the sea every day, with calmed spirits, one can more readily understand why the people living by the sea can always deal with life with a sense of serenity.” Excerpted from “By the Sea”, the preface to A Day of the Sea.












Days in Keelung

Keelung is close to Taipei, and when you can visit Taiwan, please pay the city a visit. Keelung is not an outlying island but has plenty of associations with the sea. Earlier on when I rewatched the film The Crossing, I learned that Keelung served as an important sea facing fort in the 1940s. It was only in later years, when Taipei and Kaohsiung became more developed, that Keelung Port gradually returned to calm. After being deserted for some years, its small outlying island Tuman has emerged as a new sightseeing spot bearing a history.

 “Tuman is the closest outlying island to Taiwan,” he said.

“Chen-Pin Fishing Harbor on Tuman is said to be the largest harbor during the Japanese Occupation.” I love history, and tend always to say something rather unromantic.

“Many weathered and worn old iron ships are docked at the Chen-Pin Fishing Harbor. Their shadows sway in the wind, seemingly crisscrossing marks left behind by time on the water surface. Having drifted about for half a century, it has returned to its familiar harbor, resting silently at a familiar corner.” Excerpted from the chapter titled “Ship shadows”.

“The passage of time is always recorded without leaving any traces. The life of the past six months has probably been carved on our joints for a long time, and I hope that we can all find a place to stay with peace of mind.” When I flip open the chapter of “Magic of the Sea”, the scent of sea water wafts along in waves, as though I were in a fish harbor at daybreak.

Treasure-hunting at Intertidal Zone

Once I watched Three Meals a Day: Fishing Village, a Korean reality show, and the stars were flipping over rocks one by one, finding one after another palm-sized abalones, which would be served at their dinner table. What an envy! “What can be found in the intertidal zones on Dungiu of the islands of Matsu on the northern tip of Taiwan?

“The intertidal zones are deemed the refrigerator of the Dungiu population. Every ‘tho la’, or collection of spiral shells, is like treasure hunting, a small amusement in life. Close attention will lead to the discovery of camouflaged spiral shells hidden in stone cracks,” he said, “What the Matsu natives call ‘Buddha’s hands’ as well as clams, Grata limpe and Coronate moon are all famous intertidal zone organisms in Matsu.”

“Can this be regarded as treasure-hunting? It looks rather like a job for survival and for filling the stomach.” I imagine that it is quite tough having to pick things up here and there bending down. “

“When I was spending time in residency in Dungiu, I woke up every morning in the stone house, and looked out the wooden-framed window at the Lin’ao Islet resting calmly above the sea. As a departure from a typical Taiwan street abound with colorful signboards, I walked to a pavilion, casting my eyes at the towering cliff on one side, in the absence of fashion clothing stores, convenience stores and fast food restaurants. There are no excessive desires but only people going about their simple life.” I moved on to the section of “A Diary of the Sea”, and I consider “treasure-hunting” as a person’s imagination towards life, a belief. Before closing this book, the sea serves as a medium for feeling this belief.