A Beautiful Garden

  • offcial website of Beijing Expo 2019 2017-09-15 11:12:16

Scenic Landscapes

I.

“Emotions are abundant in an idle court with the coming spring.”

“Rosy clouds in the morning and at dusk hover over green trees and pavilions.”

“Rain and wind accompany boats on mist-covered waters.”

While listening to these Kun opera lyrics, a walk in this garden brings me gentle emotions. A stroll in this luxuriant garden with its rippling water is best accompanied with complete silence.

The Guishui River flows west into the city and forms a silent bend, flanked in the east and west by a lake. In the middle of this bend lies a park called Xiadu Park. The eastern lake has everything that can be expected from a beautiful lake. Boats travel on the misty waters of the lake, bordering the nearby green hills. The western lake, with an embankment on which flowers and trees are planted, is dotted with small bridges and pavilions. In the cycle of the seasons, pear flowers, water lilies and chrysanthemum and plum blossoms appear in succession. However, the best part of this park is the garden in the middle. I slow down my pace whenever I make my way through the garden, and a feeling of serenity and calmness falls upon me, leading me to forget about the passage of time.

The beauty of this garden lies in its undulating terrain, fullness and emptiness, dynamics and serenity, green waters, sculptures and desirable tempo. A walk in the garden calms me, like a poem or a drawing. I can sit, walk, watch and meditate in the garden, instead of having to hurry through it. Just like the Kun opera song, the emotion it triggers always outlives the song itself. The best of times are spent in the park.

The five-kilometer long Guishui River runs gently from east to west through the city, like a jade necklace. This makes the ancient Yanqing Town a place full of youth and vigor. A gentle stroll along the embankment will make you lose your grasp on time, because only when you feel a little tired can you realize how far you have walked along the green path that seems to stretch ahead of you indefinitely. The wind guides your trip on a small boat on rippling waters. When in the middle of the lake, both sides of the lake appear misty.

Summer Emotions

II.

I regularly stroll across the bridge during each of the four seasons. When I feel stressed or irritated, I can seek quietness, profoundness and the sounds of nature in the park. When happy, I keep company with flowers in the morning, the moon in the evening, as well as the singing birds and misty trees. From the mid-spring until late autumn, the park is a popular attraction for tourists. Men and women enjoy themselves in their dances and turn the garden into a vibrant place. However, for at least six months each year, the garden is empty and rarely visited. On this lonely, winding foot path, I make my way through, in complete silence. I wear straw shoes and have in mind In the Park, a poem by the French poet Jacques Préver:

Thousands and thousands of years

Would not suffice to tell of

The sweet moment of eternity

Where you kissed me,

Where I kissed you.

In the early spring when the soil is still frozen and no green grasses can be seen, if you take a walk during a chilly early morning, the blank scenes before your eyes can connect you with nature. Even from a great distance, the ancient Lingzhao Temple emits a sense of evolving traditional culture. Cypresses are the only trees that are green in the park. At the end of the lawn, the powerful branches of a few very old trees shoot up towards the sky. The ice on the lake has just began to break, revealing dark and light waves. All this combines to create a deep, vast and serene scene.

Something more mysterious than religion is hidden in this scene, like the Taoist thoughts of Laotzu. This ancient philosopher had a very friendly attitude towards nature, which was deepened by the Chan sect of Buddhism that emerged after the 6th century. In the life of other-worldly people including Laotzu, nature no longer corresponds with a person's spirit. On the contrary, nature is spirit.

My stroll in the garden makes me part of Laotzu’s way, a sense full of dignity, kindness, solemnity and romance. At this moment, there is no ugliness, no stirring of emotions. Even the rising sun seems to be enjoying its leisure, with no intention of impressing people with its magnificence.

III.

Each of the four seasons has something unique to offer. However, the best time is the early winter when snow falls. Unlike the snow over the Great Wall, the snow here is soft and gentle, like butterflies. Lawns, bridges and embankments are all covered in snow. A look towards the end of the horizon reveals the gray Haituo Mountain. A large lake extends from the foot of the mountain to our very eyes. The little island in the middle of the lake also looks misty and gray. A look back reveals an impressive scene: white lawns are like the moonlight showering the ancient temple, white trees are like a young girl’s long skirt, white statutes are like a butterfly who has just transformed itself from its cocoon and the white roofs of the Lingzhao Temple are like a soft dream.

White and gray, simplicity and deepness best characterize what the park is. In the park, everything seems to be redundant: bird songs, flower fragrance, rosy clouds and cheerful words.

It is not up to you whether to believe this or not. Time spent here is other-worldly. The only thing you can do is fill up your cup with sorghum liquor and drink from it bit by bit, enjoying the wind and snow that fill the park.

Such intense intoxication can last for a year.

(Photographer: Guo Dongliang)

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