Lin Qing

Snowflakes are light, each having six tiny silver needles. Last night, they worked together to weave a well-fitted crystal outfit for the campus of S University. However, nothing is perfect, not even in a fairyland. The young dragon cypress at the north wall of the Humanities Building was bent over at a 30 degree angle after the night's snowstorm.

Several students carne from a distance, each carrying a camera. Among them was a girl in a black wool overcoat. She was a real beauty, her almond-shaped eyes like pools of clear water or bright stars in the sky. It was hard to tell which they resembled more, but she herself was certainly eye-catching! These members of the town's College Photographers Society had come out to capture the beautiful scenery endowed by nature. Laughing and talking merrily, they were approaching the leaning cypress.

"Let's take a shot just in front of the Building!" a rich baritone voice suggested.

"No, this cypress is bent by the storm and lacks natural beauty," the girl responded. Pointing to a place nearby, she proposed, "Why don't we go to the small garden of Biology Department? It has not only cypresses there, but silver pines.

Her voice drifted in the crisp air like sweet, crystal sugar melting slowly. So to the small garden they went, leaving their carefree laughter behind.

Another slim young man appeared at the Building, his coat stained with paint somewhere down the right corner. In appreciation of the snow scene he suddenly caught sight of the bent cypress. He grumbled to himself, "The gardeners were indeed very negligent. They didn't even come out to patrol the campus in such a heavy snow as last night's. They should be held partially responsible for the ruin of the harmonious beauty of nature." The amateur artist was staring at the bent cypress when inspiration flashed into his mind. He quickly opened his sketch book and drew an outline of the cypress with his charcoal pen. He planned to develop the sketch into a cartoon, when he got back to the dormitory. He had even figured out a title for it, "A Cypress Complains." He left with a sigh of sympathy for the bent tree and a flicker of disappointment in his eyes.

In the dim sunlight, a young worker, with a worst bag on his shoulder, was hurrying to the Chinese Department to audit a selective course. All of a sudden a gust of wind blew over the bent cypress, shaking the overlaying snowflakes down onto the young man's head and shoulders. He looked up and noticed the tree. Then he slowed his steps, took a glance at his watch and hurried away.

In a short while, he came back with a spade, an old bamboo stick and a piece of rubber hand. He worked with his deft hands on the bent cypress, until it was straight again. The bell for class was ringing and he dashed to the classroom.

Silence reigned. Faint bluish footprints, of all shapes and sizes, formed in the snow lines of illegible words with subtle implications. That cypress was quietly gazing at the snow, as if meditating on the mystery of beauty.

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