Bathed in moonlight, this verdant hill holds unrivaled charm, like a quiet girl, looking downward, unassuming, despite her striking beauty and disarming elegance.
Dancing moonlight seems to have deprived everything of its true color. The woods are dark; the sky is silvery; and the vast stretch of snow-covered grassland is now light blue. Dressed in these colors, the universe radiates serenity and grace, dignified but with a tinge of sadness, defying description, contemplation, or comprehension.
Tonight, these woods should be off-limits to any hunting adventure by warriors, for galloping horses, burning fire and clanking armor would deface the snow-covered land, and shatter the moon-lit tranquility.
They should also refrain from playing host to a bonfire picnic, for a hubbub of laughter and the scattering of dishes and cups would startle birds resting on treetops, and the singing of departing crowds echoing far and wide would disrupt a poetic world immersed in melancholy.
They are not a suitable venue for lovers to say goodbye, for a sentimental drama laced with lingering murmurs of sorrow is too self-constraining, and too humanly flawed to match the natural purity of the moon-lit wooded expanse.
Nor are they ready to welcome a stroll by ladies and gentlemen. Even though stories abound about how sweet a nocturnal walk in the woods could be, tonight they’d better be left alone. Shrouded in a haze of melancholy, they are readily accessible to a subconscious mind, but averse to any physical presence.
Lying on bed, and lost in thought, all of a sudden, I’m gripped by a feeling of sadness.
Tonight, this verdant hill belongs only to girls who can enjoy the moonlight and nature only in bed.
If only I could fly to the moon! I could then look down and fly to the hilltop and travel further downward along a winding corridor. Drenched in moonlight, snow blankets everything, so soft, so unspoiled, and so irresistibly inviting. Along this long corridor, quietness reigns. Gone are all worldly burdens. Drifting by is an endless procession of musings of a traveler, lingering dreams of my hometown, subconscious yearnings, moments of awakening, silent prayers, feelings of repentance…
A thousand-day stay in the hilly woods, where you witness how day becomes night a thousand times, helps wash away earthly concerns and bring clarity to your thoughts. Immersion in such an environment could lead anyone as stubborn as a mule – not to mention an inquisitive soul – to rethink the meaning of life.
Like water flowing by, memories come flooding back. Haunting me incessantly are dreams of an ancient Roman palace in ruins, broken steps of the Great Wall, the bank of the Gordan River, the holy city of Mecca, a cruise on the Rhine, a flight over the Rockies…Is it true that your heart breaks when your dream is out of reach? Only the dreamer knows.
As if looking in awe at a towering leviathan of a mountain blocking my life’s path, I wonder if the end will come tomorrow or sometimes this year since I have been trapped for too long in infirmity. Gently, I knock on the door of heaven. A peek through that door sends my thoughts flying: Am I venturing into the Seven-Treasure Lotus Pool in the land of bliss? Am I going to be granted an audience with the Emperor of Heaven? Am I overjoyed or scared? I’m not so sure. While reunions in heaven are enticing, there is so much to be missed or waiting to be achieved on earth, and there are wishes that are only one step away from becoming reality. This yearning is, I guess, shared by all mortals, instead of being exclusively mine. It is an ode to life!
Here and now, in search of unbounded possibilities in life, and in the embrace of a cascade of the universe, I find myself seized by a feeling of transcendence that blunts the sting of sorrow and brings enlightening insights.
My God, the Almighty, how do you judge my virtues and my sins?
Recollections by Bing Xin~冰心《往事》 with English Translations