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A tale of two worlds

Viewed 1276 times 2017-1-15 21:16 |Personal category:travel|System category:Life| snowy, great, wall

I took this picture at Jinshanling Great Wall on January 15, 2017. 

It was a sunny day the day before yesterday (January 14, 2017), but I got up late. Looking outside my window, I saw a cloudless sky, which meant warmth and dynamism. I had been speaking of going to the Great Wall at Jinshanling (金山嶺) between Beijing and Hebei province ’s Luanping county but weather had been not suitable for outdoor activities until this Saturday. I decided to visit the Great Wall and so prepared everything I might need and went for the bus station at Wangjing West. But I never expected this trip would be quite special but it really was. 

The trip on the bus was amazing in that afternoon. After the bus pulled out of Beijing’s suburban area, the view turned beautiful. Trees, fields, rivers, villages, small mounds and even mountains just like galloping horses passed by the bus. The sky was open and blue. Although everything was in their hibernation, they looked alive under the blue sky. The sunshine was not that warm but gave your the feel of warmth and hope. It was indeed harmonious, at least at that moment. I frequently shot pictures with my mobile phone, hoping to make every bit of beautiful moments stay. I am already 30 years old but was like a boy of 10, gazing at the disappearing and reappearing views of the dry winter. We found no trace of snow in downtown Beijing, I saw many traces of snow between the undulating mounds. Snow is not special but seems to be rarely seen in cities now, probably because of global warming, and so seeing it now becomes something exhilarating but luxurious. My childhood dream had come true at that moment, and that was just the beginning of my wonderland journey.

Under the blue sky, everything turned welcoming, hopeful and gorgeous. I was the guest of the natural world. When I finally got off the bus at the transfer station beside the expressway, I saw mountains surrounding this area, a cloudless sky still taking care of this patch of land, and more importantly, the three huge Chinese characters Jin Shan Ling appearing over the expressway. My heart beat fast and my dream had flown to the top of the Great Wall, a mysterious place that is already solemn and magnificent, for it was built to prevent the invasion of northerners of the past. I heard from one of my colleagues who can be considered an expert of the Great Wall that, this section of the Great Wall is not only beautiful but also full of historical traces, which always make my heart beat fast. The bad news was that the spot where I stood was about 5km away from the entrance of the Great Wall, and I finally decided to go there on foot. Two hours of walk in the mountainous area was not dry but wonderful, for beautiful views were nearly everywhere and I even didn’t dare to shut my eyes for a moment in case of missing some of them. 

It was already dusk when I arrived at the entrance and so I stayed there for one night. The night in the mountain was tranquil and the morning after it surprised me a lot. Snow fell overnight and I was not prepared for its coming. What I was questing for was the Great Wall under the blue sky, but what welcomed me was the amazement of the purely white snow. I went out of that farmhouse where I spent the night and the owner didn’t say a word to me but stared at me in a strange look, which can be translated like this: “Oh, young man, it is snowing! Are you going to walk the Great Wall today? You must be kidding!” And even the ticket checker of the site murmured something like: “So heavy snow!” I was a freak in his eyes that moment. I said to myself: “Since you have come, you must go! You have no choice.” 
Visiting the Great Wall in the snow, I had one privilege: I was the only visitor and everything inside the scenic area belonged to me. At 8:30 or so in the morning, walking alone in the snow was indeed interesting. Everything was quiet and what you could only hear was the creaking sounds coming from your feet when they crunched the fallen snow. So beautiful! It was a fairyland of one man---me. In fact, I was wrong after climbing many stone steps up to the Great Wall, five or so photographers had already gathered there shooting pictures, with one female photographer even saying: “I didn’t decide to come this morning, and if I had done that, I would regret from head to foot now.” 

I was not that exciting although I approved the beauty of the Great Wall in the heavy snow. I visited the Great Wall at Badaling in 2015’s winter, when it snowed. It was the first time that I had seen the snowy Great Wall, and so I was extremely impressed by the beauty of it. Now it was even more beautiful but that feel had ebbed. But the thing that filled my heart was to feel every bit of beauty of the scenery with my heart and soul, and this differs from being only excited. Lots of writers having experienced the snowy Great Wall have described the beauty of it with numerous attractive words and sentences, and I also want to express my feeling but have found I have only one word: beautiful.

For me, the snowy Great Wall is a fairyland, somewhat like the place in Grimm’s Fairy Tales. It seems not real but is indeed in front of you. The blue and gray bricks in the snow have transformed into another different appearance, not only white but also tasteful. If you stare at it for one moment, you will really want to see it again and again, and this feel will nearly never decline. I think this is the charm of it. When I walked down the snowy Great Wall, I felt like I didn’t want to move away from it at all. The beauty of it is eternal, always in my mind. 

Finally when the bus pulling out of the snowy world into the dry land in Beijing, I became a little disappointed only because the fairyland had disappeared from my view and what replaced it was a land without fairy tales, a land where there was no snow or snowy mountains and Great Wall. Two different worlds tell two different kinds of tales, which leave us different memories.  

(Opinions of the writer in this blog don't represent those of China Daily.)


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