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Into the Mountains

by Hongping Liu


I dare not yield to temptation, because the dark reflections quivering and rippling on the expanse of water are the words written by boatmen: Be careful not to fall down.

I fear lest I lose the beauty, which rises waves on waves and depth on depth. Those who are in the habit of waiting and lingering will certainly miss it.

Don’t lure me down into such a posture! White flowers burst out over the sea — an immeasurable graveyard of tears.


Trees are the symbol of home not only to animals or birds but also to us, human beings.

As children, we used to play around trees. One group possessed one big tree, the other owned another tree. Each tree was supposed to be our home. We played warriors to fight the other team. Once we couldn’t bear the fierce attacks from our enemies, we would escape to our home. According to the rule, no sooner did we reach home than our rivals had to stop running after us.

Wandering is my unavoidable fate in this life. After being away for many years, I returned to my hometown. Tracing a winding course into a wood’s heart, I’m filled with a mystery of joy as I watch many a tree fluttering into new life: maple trees with their red leaves reflecting in the sky as if life’s fire is aflame; pine trees, tall or short, always standing straight as if they have chosen to live there with no regrets.

Trees are solitary and mysterious and subtle. I watch them as if I were one of them, with my emotions seesawing between pleasure and embarrassment while facing multifarious changes in this world. With the wind and rain passing by the branches, and birds singing among the greeneries, I’ve heard the prayers from both the heart of the tree and the depth of my own soul.

You and I

Before, I had as many romantic dreams as you had. You once expected your girl to be a rose delighting the eye, and I thought I was that one.

However, we had missed the crossroads of the dream before I realized I was only a small tree, hacking my way through jungles and experiencing life’s ups and downs. Storms may shed my branches and the fire may destroy my life. What could I do but keep my roots in earth or turn to a flash in the fire.

How about you? Have you ever happened to feel blue about the past? Because any flower may fade with time. Since we parted from each other in that season, I feel that you are really far away, too far for me to see you before my eyes. You are the wind whistling my emotional bell but never belonging to my world.


This city, my hometown, is called both a fog city and a mountain city. Our eyesight is always blinded by so many layers of mists and cut off by so many tiers of hills. As a youngster, I decided to get away from the mountain city, and I tried many a time. Since the mountain roads are often foggy, my footsteps naturally go up and down.

Being away from my hometown for a long time, I thought that I had finally escaped from the hills of the mountain city. However, sometimes I have found myself still caught on many a hill — invisible hills such as my learning, my desires, my failures, my debts, and my wealth...

As years have passed by, I have learned that it is easier to cross tiers of visible hills than it is to lift the invisible hills from my breast. Life may be an art of constant surrender. If I could learn the lesson well, I would no longer carry the hills around but really leave behind tiers of hills. I know the secret of doing it is not to use my head as an adult but to gain the faith of a child.

Copyright © 2012 by Hongping Liu

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