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We as human beings are very fortunate to be living on this planet that we call Earth. We toil over the land, and in return we receive provisions off of which we live. Even though we get all that we need from this bountiful land, we still for some reason feel like we need to alter it. In doing so we also end up ruining the land that we thrive on. We reshape the world to fit our individual needs, and the earth just doesn’t work that way.
Everything on this planet has a purpose, from the largest animal to the microscopic bacteria, and without it, it is impossible to live in harmony People have learned how to turn wild natural areas to dram land, how to exploit minerals to adapt their needs, how to build roads and houses to expand their territories.
It goes without saying that one cannot live without nature. Nature has a great deal to teach.
Every landscape is the gift given by nature. As I sit at the window, listening to the rain rustling, I turn on the lights, and start to reflect on the lost memories about my childhood with nature.
I was born in a simple siheyuan, a typical Chinese house with courtyards in an old Hutong. Hutongs are a type of narrow street, dating back as early as Yuan dynasty. Most of them run from east to west, no wider than nine meters. Hutongs are not only the dwelling place for Beijingers, but are also cultural museums.
Every brick and tile has its history; only people who live in Hutongs will understand the meaning of the city’s peace and tranquility. During my childhood, I lived with all my family members which included my parents, grandparents, uncle, aunts, great-aunts and my great-grandfather together in my childhood. The siheyuan was only one floor story so it was easy for me to be closed to nature. All of my happiest memory was the experience lived in this siheyuan.
There was a yard lies outside of the door gate. Our family owns two pomegranate trees and a toona tree whose leaves are edible and delicious. Every autumn, my favorite activity is to climb the trees to pick those fresh, juicy pomegranates and the buds of toons. In addition to the trees, there is a beautiful park that is only a ten minute walk. Each summer, I went fishing in the river in the park with my neighbors and then cooked the fish and shrimp for dinner. While I ate, I came to understand that nature that provides essential foods to human life and I really appreciated that.
However, before I could further explore relationship with nature, at the age of six, my parents and I left the Siheyuan and moved into a five story old building. I could no longer live with all my family members, and I was no longer able to. But a good thing happened; my parents bought me a chick for me to feed. When I held the little chick in my hands, I couldn’t help but to love it. I immediately got a carton and put the chick into it and also put inside a small bottle filled with water. Then I installed a fifteen-watt light bulb to bring the light to the chick because my grandpa told me that most cold-blooded chicks and hens do not leave the heat given by lights.
After two weeks, the chick grew well and was healthy. It was so cute when he used his two small claws to run here and there. It was even more interesting when he drank the water. He put his mouth into the small water bowl at first, and then raised his head and swallowed water and at the same time, shaking his head. Maybe, he was telling me he was so happy. Then, a tragedy happened. One day, I felt he was not strong enough, so I fed him a little more millet before I went to school. I was worried about the chick all the day and when I came back from school, it had died by eating too much millet. The next day, my grandma cooked the chicken I had raised and fed all of the family members except me. I was so hurt that I cried in my bed all night. It was different from eating the fish and shrimp I caught from the river. I began to wonder whether human beings should kill creatures of nature.
As I started question the relationship with nature, our family moved to our third house. It was a twenty-four floors modern apartment. I felt like I was totally isolated from nature. When I began high school, I had no free time to think about the nature. Every day on my way to school, I walked pass by the most famous hutong in Beijing and the central park in our district, I just could not stop for a minute to take a look at them. But then, my father planted several plants in our balcony and fed several fish in an aquarium. Every morning, I woke up by a kind of bad smell, and I knew that was my dad changing the water of the aquarium for the fish. He kept doing this every morning and even now the fish are still alive. My father told me that every creature of nature needs to be carefully cared for. Only when you realize animals and plants are equal with human being, you will admire the beauty in them. Human beings are so small compared to nature. The relationship between people and nature is just like a drop in the ocean or a grain of sand in the desert. After listening to his words, I started to learn how to respect the natural world by admiring the beauty of the nature.
The relationship between nature and me is related to where I lived in. I enjoyed playing with natural creatures before I was six and got confused about the relationship between nature and human being when I moved out the siheyuan. Finally, by listening my father’s words, I was deeply moved and I was surprised to find the beauty in every ordinary and easily ignored objects. He gave me eyes to find beauty in everything.
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