Back to the
During this Spring Festival, I paid a few days’ visit to my grandparents, who live near the
These months’ separation from that old campus somehow made me eager to go back to it again. The present senior campus that lies in Haicang District is far larger and newer than the junior campus, however, everything there wasn’t familiar to me. I had been in preference to the old one, for, after all, I had spent three years there. Therefore, after the first night of my visit to my grandparents, on the morning of the very next day, I went on a walk along the bank of the lake by the old campus and, by the way, had a brief glimpse into the empty campus, from outside of it.
Frankly, I had never been to the lakeside on an early spring morning, with everything lying in pearly mists, more tranquil than any other time of year. I strode along the tarred road leading to the northwestern part of the lake, accompanied by the cold February wind, and finally arrived at my destination.
Silently I walked down a flight of stone steps, careful not to disturb the slumbering bank, yet my footfall still resounded. The liquid in the lake now took on a greenish color, placid as a plate of mirror, reflecting the first drop of sun that had just struggled out of the thick layer of clouds, and glimmering slightly. A granite-paved path wound alongside the lake to the west. The lakeside, where my friends and I used to visit, was as loveable as before.
As I strolled on, the buildings and facilities of the school emerged: its playground, its dining hall, its experiment building, its basketball courts, its lamp-posts...I stepped across the lawn and got closer to the campus walls. A nameless strange feeling filled up my heart, betwixt a slight acquaintance and a slight strangeness. Once simply a boundary between the campus and the world outside, those iron-barred, brick-laid walls were now barriers, separating the campus from me. The lawn was damp, the grasses on which lay patched yellow, yet giving a natural sort of fragrance. Not far from the wall stood a row of mango trees, fruitless, leaves fallen off, withered; their twigs stirred soundlessly.
Not intentionally I touched the iron bars on the wall, and immediately steely chills penetrated through my body; I shivered. Some of the bars had peeled, leaving rusty spots. I felt a parting between the old campus and me, so close to the campus but unable to cross this barrier. Time keeps passing. And surely I couldn’t go back to the past once more.
Everything that came to my sight seemed to be carrying the marks of dilapidations of time, as though telling me that the old campus was aging. Yet the scene produced a profound and mysterious awe, which also waged my remembrance. I could still remember the first time when my friends and I had discovered the lakeside, on an autumn day.
Via a bridge that lay through the
Remembered that autumn midday, when we had just finished a mid-term exam, keen to find to place to get relaxed. As we headed through a shaded path and to the northern bank, we were surprised by the lakeside in the autumn sun, wondering why we hadn’t found such a loveable place before. The dry autumn breeze caressed our faces and the water in the lake exuded an odor of the sea. With curiosity we wandered along the granite path, across a bridge, down few steps and to the place where I was standing on the southern bank this time. The golden sunlight cascaded down, and we four were completely amazed by what we saw. The water moved silently, making the lake surface a smooth velvet. Everything was in harmony, and that harmony brought us ecstasy, ecstasy so great that from then on the place had become a paradise for after-exam gatherings, especially in autumn. Those were really golden times.
Staring at an egret who perched on a granite railing by the lake, I endeavoured to pull myself out of the memories. The egret stared back sympathetically, and his neck bent, which now looked like a white question mark. Time was such a barrier that couldn’t be passed with any power whatsoever. I gave a deep sigh, making the egret squeal with his utmost discontent. Then he flapped his wings and took off, feet stretching back jeeringly.
Nevertheless, the lakeside was everlastingly attractive to me. It was a place for us to relax after the busy school days. But now, it was not only a resting place, but also a symbol of the junior campus life. It seemed to me, as I looked across the lake, at the school buildings, those autumn days at the lakeside were extremely precious and worth saving. Those memorable days, along with the other days in the old campus, could definitely not reappear.
Gradually the vehicles on the tarred road began to increase, another busy day had come. I heard the banks of the lake breathing hastily, apparently disturbed by the noise that came from the road. Wondering if the Nature was still longing for that tranquil period of time in the passed morning, I suddenly realized something. Wasn’t I yearning over those old times passed away? Just then, someone invisible whispered in my ears, 'He who was engaging himself in histories has not really grown up…' I got to my feet and cast one more glance at the old campus in a silent solemnity, the lake still lying in transparent haze, and the banks had awoken.