The Seventh Original Writing Competition
Senior High School Group
Platinum Award


Written by Yao Zi-ning,
Ning Shan Middle School, Ning Shan County, Shaanxi Province
Date: October, 2019

Qin-Ba (Shaanxi) Area is home to thousands of coniferous trees. The central region of Qinling Mountains is the cradleland of these trees. In the mountainous area of Pingheliang of Ning Shaan, there is a group of people who constantly run around in the snowfield in winter and measure the length of mountain roads by footstep just for the purpose of tree selection and cultivation of superior species. They are kindly called as mountain shakers by the local people.

This winter in Ning Shan is particularly cold. During the third nine-day period after the winter solstice, the air will be frozen into ice immediately after it’s breathed out. Ice flowers are hanging on the branches while the snowflakes are flying in the air. All animals and plants have disappeared. Only the piercingly cold norther is raging in the frozen and snow-covered land. Against the biting wind, they step on a white journey. In the world clad in silvery white, their colorful figures are like tiny spots that make up a beautiful scenery. If you ask them how far their destination is, they would say they haven’t measured it yet themselves. They only know they have to walk at least thirty thousand steps to get there. If you ask them where their observation objects are, they would say they don’t know either. They only know that those tall and gigantic trees need to be investigated one by one. The forestry farm deep in the mountains is the place where they are never absent in every single workday. The reason why this land is especially preferred is that the terrain is extremely intricate there and there are wide varieties of trees, which make it a naturally excellent observation base.

They come to the front of a fir. Its height is similar to a three-storied building. The trunk is thick, strong, and perfectly straight. This is an unyielding warrior who dares to face up to the challenge of the cold winter on its own. In the face of this warrior, they expressed their admiration repeatedly and then they observe, measure, record, and sample it. They pocket all the secrets of this warrior standing the cold wind before they start to look for the next warrior. So repeatedly, the secrets why an ordinary tree become a warrior in winter will be revealed themselves and be devoted to the seeds of trees of next generation. The grown towering trees are all warriors. They cover the ranges of hills in well-spaced arrangement in Qinling Mountains. This is the reason the land is greener and the water is clearer in Qingling area. This is also where their name, Mountain Shakers, derives from.

Not all measurement is as simple and effective as that of a fir tree. Most of the warriors of pinopsida prefer to stand on the steep cliffs. That’s why people would say they’ve been erecting on the steep cliff for one thousand years, one hundred generations and standing proudly with their back straightened and head held high under the firmament. However, it stumps the team of mountain shakers. After a long silence, a young mountain shaker stands out voluntarily. He takes off his heavy outdoor jacket. The whistling wind makes him shiver all over with cold. His teeth are trembling as if he’s fallen into an ice cellar. The cold air climbs up along his back and flows all over his body. He puts his trembling hands on the ice-cold rocks and clambers up the stone slope. He finishes the measurement on his own. When he comes back, his lips have already turned blue. He is shaking like a chaff sifter. The cold wind makes him feel like his viscera are all exposed to the air. A string of numbers come out of his quivering lips word by word. All the team members are holding their breath before they feel a sense of relief. Even himself is brimming with smiles as he’s achieved what he wishes.

Under such severe environmental condition, they still insist on on-the-spot investigation. You might wonder their original intention of cultivation of superior species. Certainly it’s not only for a delightful feast to the eye, but more for long-term eco-development and economic effect. Have you ever heard of the saying that heroes emerge in troubled times? The harder the environment is, the more heroes emerge in the woods. Traditional trees are perishable, ductile and easy to crack while trees edified by these heroes will be improved significantly in aspects of thickness, hardness and bending resistance. Once they are processed into timber, they even have features of durability, un-inflammability, resistance to deformation and crack. The door to a new world is opened for the wood processing industry. It’s also where the biggest significance of hard work of mountain shakers in winter lies in.

Saihanba Forest Farm has inherited Saihanba people’s spirit of selfless contribution from generation to generation; it moves China. Technical personnel of aeronautics and astronautics have inherited astronaunt spirit from generation to generation. They sing the strongest note of the age. I believe that the spirit of these mountain shakers will certainly also be eulogized by us. They are the most lovable people in winter. They are the most beautiful scenery in the snowcapped mountains. It’s them who hold up the ridge of the whole dense forest. This winter will no longer be cold with them. All life deep in the mountains are endowed with significance.

Maybe when you are driving through the section in Qinling Mountains along National Highway 210, they are walking on the same land as you. Please take a panoramic view of the scenery. It’s not only the quintessence of daylong hard work of mountain shakers, but also the best recognition and present for them from the silent nature.

Expert comment 1
The topic selection is unique. Its major narrative object is mountain shakers who maintain the forest ecology in Shaanxi-Sichuan Area. The writer’s concern for eco-environment protection is drawn forth by their struggle in the deep forest in winter. The angle of the article is of particularity. The language is fluent and appealing.

Expert comment 2
The selection of subject matter is peculiar. The article portrays the forest surveyors in Shaanxi-Sichuan Area. The writer describes the scenery of hometown and grand feelings of winter in fluent and elegant style of writing. It’s excellent in both the article itself and its topic selection.