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In several of my novels, I have mentioned an abandoned park, which is actually Ditan Park.
Many years ago, tourism wasn’t as developed as today. Not a lot of people came to visit this deserted place, nor did they seem to notice its existence.
Ditan Park is very close to my house. Or you can say that my house is very close to Ditan Park. Either way, it is some sort of destiny. Ditan Park was there four hundred years before I was born. When my grandma was younger, she moved to Beijing with my father and stayed somewhere close to the park. My family relocated a few times over the past fifty or more years, but we are only moving closer and closer to the park. It often seems to me like a deliberate arrangement—the park is just waiting for me. It has waited and waited, for more than 400 years.
It was there when I came into this world; it was there when my legs became useless in my prime. Four hundred years has eroded the flashy azure tiles on the roof, faded the flamboyant redness of the doors, collapsed the high walls and broken down the resplendent jade pillars. The lush cypress trees around the altar stand quiet and still. Weeds grow freely everywhere.
Then, here I came. One afternoon fifteen years ago, I rolled my wheelchair into the park. It had prepared itself for me, a lost soul. The sun was traveling on its usual route, getting bigger and bigger, turning more and more red. It gently shed its light upon the park, where time became more apparent and you could see yourself clearly.
I seldom missed going to the park ever since that afternoon.
It all makes sense to me now—“in a crowded city, a secluded haven is a special gift from God.” I wrote in one of my novels.
In the first few years after I lost the use of my legs, I wasn’t able to find a job. I didn’t know what to do, so I rolled my way to the park, escaping to another world. In that novel, I wrote, “I don’t have anywhere else to go, so I just stay here all day. Just like people who have a job, I come for my ‘shift’ at the park. There is no admission fee, so people go through the park all the time. After the temporary clamor, the whole place calms down.
“As the sun lights up the park, I roll my wheelchair into the shadow of a wall, put down the back of the chair, and then sit or lay down. I do some reading or thinking, or just break a branch to shoo away little bugs—they are just like me, confused about their life in this world.
“Bees freeze in the air like mini clouds. Ants are always shaking their head, stroking their antennas, and all of a sudden, they would start moving as if they have just figured something out. When a ladybug tires of crawling, it spreads its wings and flies away when it is done with praying. The cicada’s skin left on the branch is like an empty house of loneliness. Drops of dew roll on the leaves, gather together, glide down the leaves and shatter into little crystals.
“The park resounds with constant whispers of the grass and trees as they grow.” All this IS happening. It seems like a lonely park, but it is never lonely.
I would’ve gone to every corner of the park except that there was limited access to a few halls and the altar that was overlooking the park. My wheelchair has left its trail on almost every inch of the grass at the park. I was there at dawn or dusk, in summer or winter, rain or shine. Sometimes I only stayed for a bit; sometimes I stayed until the moon was shining. I spent hours contemplating the matter of life and death. After several years, I’ve finally come to a conclusion: a man’s birth is an unarguable fact. When God made this arrangement, He already knew how it is going to end. Thus, a man need not be anxious about death -- it is bound to come. This idea about life and death has put my mind at ease over what I am faced with. Think about it: you have been staying up late and waking up early for a big exam; then all of a sudden you realize that there is a long vacation waiting for you ahead! Wouldn’t you feel a bit better? And thankful for such arrangement?
Having an idea about life and death, now I only have to figure out how to live. It is a complicated question, a question that could take a man his whole life to try to answer, one that is like a lover/demon that is going to be by your side all the time. Hence even after fifteen years, I still go to the park, sit by an old tree or the bushes or a broken wall, and meditate, collecting my thoughts and looking deep into my heart.
In those fifteen years, people who did not understand the park kept changing its appearance to suit themselves. Luckily, something about the park can never be changed:
The sun falls into the gap of the altar’s stone gate. When its golden glory quietly shines upon the park, every bump or hollow on the ground is sparkling in the sun’s splendor; swifts sing on the saddest day, making the whole world their desolate audience; Kids’ footprints in the snow always make you wonder: who are they? Where have they been? What have they done? Where did they go from here? Old cypress trees stand in silence, whether if you are happy or sad, whether if you are here or not; unexpected storms come and stir up the air with a strong and fresh scent of grass and earth, taking one back to the endless summer; and the autumn breeze brings an early frost. Fallen leaves twirl in the breeze or lay on the ground. The whole park smells bitter and pleasant.
Smells are hard to describe. You have to experience them yourself to understand what they are like; smells are hard to remember. You have to smell the particular smell to recall all the emotions and meanings that go with it.
This is why I often have to go back to the park.
English to Chinese: Hotel Promotion General field: Marketing Detailed field: Tourism & Travel
Source text - English What’s Happening!:
We are open for business! The hotel has experienced several updates, including some redesigns to several 3rd floor rooms and the rooftop. Our rooftop bar and lounge is now featuring a brand new menu and the bar was completely rebuilt under the roof so our patrons can still enjoy cocktails rain or shine.
Boutique Hotel with Personality
Welcome to Hotel 1110, a 17-room hotel in the heart of Monterey, California. We are across the street from Del Monte State Beach with a water-front trail and a brisk walk away from downtown and the wharf. At Hotel 1110, personal hospitality is complemented by offerings of art, design, textile, fixtures and vintage accents. Our guests’ experiences include culinary services, artisan cocktails, unique packages, roof-top ocean views and a whole lot of fun vibes. Come and jump in on Hotel 1110’s alternative lodging experience, Take a look around our website and make a reservation.
Translation - Chinese 最新动态：