I initially imagined my Golden Hill as a silver bridle-stud upon the ground of Heaven.  That was winter. Later, I stood in the face of the wind upon the great turquoise steppe and drew the mountains as though they were horses whose manes and tails were like fringed offering scarves.  That was spring  I drew the hill with deep blue wings, like a crane swooping down into an indistinct white mirage.  That was summer.  I ended up drawing the yellowish jewel of the hill as though it were a model carriage with a braided canopy.  That was autumn.  Thus, I committed an image of Golden Hill to paper in each of the four seasons, in winter, spring, summer and autumn.

Winter’s cold passes over the white hollows and hardens them, its iciness pinching our cheeks.  In the raging bitterness of spring, the earth gets whipped, like a face slashed to blindness by grasses.  This dreadful suffering is forgotten as we play like marmots amidst the flowers of loving summer.  And, in the gentle winds of autumn, we drop tears of sadness as the birds head away.  Such is the nature of the seasons.

When I was young, my father taught me the Mongol script by tracing the letters with his whip in the snow which covered the sheep’s pastureland.  In the depths of winter, the white steppes were like sheets of paper in a book.  And when spring came round again, the first anemones stood out in the white snows like letters, the summer flowers spread their calligraphic leaves, the autumn grew yellow and dull like ancient parchments and, as time’s hoarfrost pressed its weight down, these texts but glimmered in the misty whiteness.

And oh, the intertwining nature of the four seasons is growth, spreading, fading and withering and the destiny of life speeds through birth, aging, sickness and death. Such is the rope which is securely fixed to the roofring of the world.

In any case, the Wheel of Time turns in its own way, without beginning and without end.
translated by Simon Wickhamsmith