The Beauty of Life: A Personal Reflection on Nature and Poetry

When I was youthful, I always delighted in ascending the hills and listening to the breeze, and reclining in the meadows to observe the ethereal flight of the clouds. My days glided by gracefully, akin to a reverie. Everything was enthralling, everything was resplendent.

What is the essence of beauty? I was unable to discern it in those days. Dwelling in the wilderness of the North, I merely sensed that the world was boundlessly expansive. In early spring, as one treads upon the moistened soil and steps upon the nascent grass, the heart becomes imbued with quivering elation. If one chances upon a nascent flower in the field, it can be contemplated intently for an extended duration, as if apprehensive of profaning the essence of life. Sacred, I yearn to pluck it, yet I dare not. When autumn arrives, the vast plains truly astound! From the heavens to the earth, the kaleidoscope of colors metamorphoses daily, captivating the eyes. When the western gusts strengthen and the yellowed leaves relinquish their branches, I invariably sigh without reason.

Those juvenile actions were naught but an indistinct and superficial sentiment! With a modicum of maturation, I found myself adrift amidst the unending conflagration. Curiously enough, I do not experience much anguish, but rather, I clandestinely revel in seizing this opportunity to relish the splendor of mountains and rivers. I have captured numerous resplendent vistas within my heart: the desolate sunset at Stone City, the gentle moonlight at West Lake, the meandering, ceaseless currents of the Yangtze River… Yet, the most indelible memory is that time when I wandered upon the trunk of the Xiangjiang River, where the autumnal waters flowed, exhibiting a crystalline clarity akin to a mirror. On the opposing mountain peaks, the crimson foliage had transmuted into a nebulous expanse. In the limpid autumnal light, the secluded village faintly revealed itself, while the fishermen sang their mellifluous melodies. Ah! Is this not the realm of deities? Therefore, a wish was made: in time to come, to dwell in seclusion here with two or three intimate companions. Several acres of land, a few bookshelves, a compendium of poetry, life akin to a billowy cloud, unrestricted…

During those days, youthful dreams were too juvenile, and exquisite fantasies were too splendid! Who has not experienced youth? Who has not harbored beautiful dreams? But who, like me, remains ensnared by dreams, never to awaken? It is more apt to say that I resemble the spider that spins its web in the corner of a domicile. Rather, it is more fitting to say that the spider, which weaves its intricate web, is akin to me, ensnaring its existence within a minuscule corner, crafting a solitary world. Thus, I sit alone amidst the realm of literature, confronting this multihued existence with a smile. Let those who regard me with awe sigh, let those who comprehend me maintain silence, let those who envy me deride.

There is naught to be done about it. I am myself, having traversed the sea of humanity for over three decades, and I remain as naive or foolish as ever! During times of austerity, I still harbor doubt regarding the might of wealth; when my offspring mature, I still venerate poetry and hold beauty in superstitious regard; I allow numerous prosperous opportunities to slip through my grasp without stirring, yet I tirelessly endeavor to capture fleeting emotions traversing my mind. Some assert that the deeper one immerses oneself in the world and the older one becomes, the more profound one’s thoughts shall be. The veracity of this statement leaves me pondering, for after countless vicissitudes, why does my soul persist in its childlike naivety?

The fervor I possessed as a youth for ascending lofty mountains and delving into deep valleys remains unabated. Moreover, as long as a tranquil and resplendent world exists, I can relish it for an extended duration. The pathways we tread each day, the perpetual dance of coconut tree shadows, a radiant sunlight, a moment of serenity, a drifting blossom, a verdant leaf… All exude a refreshing sweetness, imbuing the ordinary with a mellifluous flavor. When I was a lad, I delighted in scaling the statues of history, listening to the resounding heartbeats of giants. Now, I find that a plaintive nocturnal cry and a rustic dialect have imparted profound comprehension unto me. Residing amidst the mundane world, I often discover that many things assume renewed significance with each passing day. Sometimes, within absolute silence, harmonious sounds of nature pervade my ears. Whether deemed reality or fantasy, I perpetually perceive this multihued world as one that enlightens me, enriches me, and adorns meHowever, what is the essence of beauty? I could not articulate it in my youth, and I am still unable to do so now. If beauty is equated with truth, if beauty is synonymous with eternity. Nevertheless, truth resembles a gilded reptile, at times shifting hues, while eternity remains enigmatic, sometimes indistinguishable from the present moment. These are quandaries beyond my comprehension, yet I aspire for my life to resemble a wisp of cloud in the azure sky. Even though it may be faint and evanescent, it shall suffice for me.

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