As a young boy of six you hike with your parents. You marvel at the world among beech trees, pick the flowers by the horses and, in your tiny boots, go giggling from village to village. You chat with wee old ladies and men, with the seriousness of a six year old, they listen and laugh. If you are not teasing the cat, you are stumbling with the scythe under the watchful eyes of your father or you are standing up to your waist in the snow. You want to cry not yet knowing you have no reason to.  

Twenty years on you walk alone under the beech trees, but you don’t marvel any more. You want to pick the flowers but don’t dare. You run up the steep mountain looking for phone signal. You listen to the old ladies and men, now it is them who tell the stories. They smile, but they don’t laugh. Their stories are stories from your childhood, memories of their times. You see the man with the scythe, but you only take his picture. In the evening you are in the pub, drowned in beer and dreaming in bitterness. Wake up, tomorrow you need to continue the last twenty years. 

It doesn’t matter if you don’t understand how the countryside that was flourishing for centuries can disappear in a couple of decades. Girls do not return to be the old ladies, lads are busy with the lawn mower in the suburbs. They have good signal there, no need to climb mountains for it. “A tiny bit. Just a little bit. All it takes. It helps to forget. The sorrow and the bitterness. A shot everyday is relaxing.” Told me a wee old man with watery eyes. 
“And then another one,” he smiled wryly.

— 
Tamas Paczai