The Hero Tree
Edited by:James Champion,WANG Zijin | Date:2017/04/04
“I think that I shall never see
a poem lovely as a tree.
A tree whose hungry mouth is prest
against the earth's sweet flowing breast;
a tree that looks at god all day,
and lifts her leafy arms to pry;
a tree that may in summer wear
a nest of robins in her hair;
upon whose bosom snow has lain;
who intimately lives with rain.
Poems are made by fools like me,
but only god can make a tree.”
——by Joyce Kilmer(1886-1919)
A splash of scarlet appeared in my dream like a huge fire giving off light and heat radiantly. “What is it that is so powerfully fascinating?” I murmured in search of that admiration-provoking vague figure.I walked and walked heading towardsthat towering icon and finally when I reached it, I was surprised at the scene lying before me where kapok flowers dotted the ground dying the ground blood red.With regret and sympathy,I bent down,carefully picked up one flower and gazed at it. What a lovely thing it must have been, hanging high on the branches swinging in the air.Now after a storm of heavy rain and high wind, they fell off from branchesand lay on the ground,but they kept their heads up.O,that haunting object turnedout to be a kapok tree. Of course,it has always been kapok. Softly and gently I put down the flower I picked up and left the serenity – not wanting to disturb them in my dream wonderland.
After I woke up, I was still immersed in the profound sensation that scene brought to me and since I found that I actually didn’t know much about kapok, I decided to search for information about it on the Internet.
The source land of the kapok tree remains a mystery,but it’s widely believed that it originated from India and was brought to regions like the south-east Chinaand Taiwan where the tropical climate sufficiently provides an abundant amount of heat and water for kapok treesto grow in the course of immigration and mutual trade in ancient times.
This Asian tropical tree features a straight trunk which cangrow to an average of 20 meters, with old trees up to 60 meters in wet tropical regions,and its leaves aredeciduousin winter – creating yet another kind of solemnity. The trunk and limb bear numerous conical spines to deter attacks by pests. Surprisingly, spikes on the stem can also be ground and applied to the face for treatment against acne.
Cup-shaped red flowers with fivepetals appear in the spring before the new foliage. The kapok tree is characterized by its crimson blossom which makesthe tree seem to be caught in a fierce fire. The kapok tree is known as the “hero tree”due to the fact that when it is in blossom,it is like it has been soaked in the blood of heroes, revolutionary pioneers and patriots who fought so bravely for their beliefs,regardless of the danger that they would die for their dreams. Another reason for this nickname is that unlike other flowers, when kapok flowers fall off the tree and lie on the ground they don’t wither or fade in color, which means they die in a heroic way. When a breeze waftsthrough, petals wave and dance in elegance like countless elves of fire greeting and playing with each other delightedly. It produces a capsulewhich, when ripe, contains white fiberslike cotton. Seeds are numerous, long, ovoid, black in colorand packed in white cotton. The leaves are covered with about sixleaflets radiating from a central point. As for the fruit, which reaches an average of 13 centimeters in length, it is light-green in color in immature fruits, brown in mature fruits.
I have always deeply loved and revered those kapok trees not only for their sensational beauty,but also for their heroic spirit and their accompanying role in my growth. After I graduated from high school, where I spent six unforgettable years, the image of thosetwo majestic soldier-like kapok trees near the pool sprinkled with lotus haunts me in dreams. They teach me to be a big man who treads the path of merit and uprightness,as well as remind me of those wonderful days in myold school.It is a place where a bright smile will cross the face with warmth rushing through at the mere mention or thought of it. It dawned on me recently that happiness is different from joy which means happiness is a mixed compound that includes bitterness and joy, but you will never regret having these experiences. I occasionally think that maybe teenage years are the most memorable, no matter where you spend them, and beautiful. However, I feel fortunate that my years are spent in Zhixin High School with every reason.I spent most of my adolescenceunder the shade of it, but now I’ve grown up and have to go out into the society toface challenges and difficulties without the shelter of home or schoolanymore. But, I know there are always two angels there, standing straightly,guarding conscientiously, waiting for me to come back home one day and chat with mates about those gracious days.
The moment I went into the campus of GDUFS, I noticed with unspeakable and huge joy that there are plenty ofkapok trees in the place where I will spend four years. Smiling wildly,looking up these icons,I know the inspiration brought by them will never end and my story with kapok is always to be continued.