Zero Degree Flame

I didn’t expect that after witnessing a few dry otters performing their miraculous feats in the Pamirs, a more moving feat was waiting for me.

It was on the other side of the sky pool and it had been a day since the climb over. Bogda Peak was getting clearer and clearer, and every now and then a beam of light shone through to brighten the day. Over the slope, it was time to start going down. Below the slope is the glacial lake, and opposite the glacial lake are the three forked darbans. The glacial lake and the darshan at once constituted a confrontation of tranquility and incandescence. I slowly walked down, but in my heart, I wondered how many such confrontations there were in the depths of the Tianshan Mountains. Perhaps, it is this confrontation that makes up the vast and silent Bogda Peak.

When I got down to the bottom of the slope, I reached the edge of the frozen lake. I used a small hammer to knock the ice of the lake, ready to take water from the lake. The ice is very thick, a hammer down only cracked a little. I increased the strength to knock one after another, some ice foam splashed up, flying in front of my eyes, as if there was a snow up.

Suddenly, a small black shadow flashed in front of my eyes. I looked up and saw that a dry otter had swept past my eyes and was running into the distance. I got excited and waved my hammer and shouted, “Otter.” It suddenly stopped running when it heard my cry and turned its head to look at me. The otter’s eyes were so small that I couldn’t see how it looked at me. All I could see was that its two front paws were up, as if it was ready to run again. I yelled out again, “Otter.” I thought it would be scared off, so I could witness it running down the hill. Instead of running, he put his two front paws on the ground. I shouted “Otter” again. It raised its head and looked at me with interest, without the slightest hint of panic, and I suddenly felt like a fool. In the eyes of a dry otter, I may be even more stupid than the stupidest dry otter it knows. So, looking at me raising the gadget in my hand and barking randomly, it found it amusing and looked at me like a monster. I looked at it overwhelmed, and it was looking at me overwhelmed. Perhaps it wants me to make some more foolishness, so that it can have a good look.

After a while, it turned around and walked away.

I was ready to continue knocking on the ice when I turned my head and saw another otter in a crevice to my left. I got closer and realized it had long been frozen to death. The ice crevice was not deep, and the lake water below had frozen its four paws and abdomen. From its frozen posture, it was caught in the ice crevice and could not get out before it was frozen to death. Why was it caught in the ice crevice? The otter’s ancestors were otters, and for them, who can never return to the water, water is inauspicious and they should stay away from it. Perhaps it suddenly saw the water under the ice crevice during its thirsty run, so it couldn’t wait to stick its head in and drink some water, only to find itself caught in the ice crevice. It jumped to jump out, but found that it could not force because of the four paws hanging in the air. It desperate to the extreme, hissing in grief, I do not know how long it screamed, and finally, its hissing sound is getting smaller and smaller, and finally no sound. Perhaps there is a possibility that the ice on the lake surface in the sunlight glowed brightly, and the surrounding scenery was shining directly by the light and became very beautiful. It passed by and was deeply enchanted by the view of the lake, so it jumped in and played happily on the ice. It was playing happily when it accidentally fell into the ice crevice and was stuck in a dead end. The subsequent scenario was the same as the previous envisioned result, it was frozen to death.

I squatted down to take a closer look, and a more unexpected scenario appeared in front of me. The ice that had stuck the otter had been chiseled away, from front to back, as if to get all the ice off and bring it up. The marks of the ice showed that the work had been going on for a long time, and the fine digging marks showed both the difficulty of the work and the strength of the otter. I remembered the otter from earlier and suddenly thought that it had done it. Perhaps the frozen otter was its brother, or its wife. It started this difficult job when it found its loved one frozen to death in a crevice of ice. It is likely that when it digs out a bit of ice each day, the sky is still snowing, and the ice in the crevice returns to its original state overnight, and its efforts will be in vain. But it will keep going until it reaches its goal.

To confirm my suspicions, I returned quietly with water in hand. As I cooked, I kept quietly watching. More than two hours later, the otter did return, gently wading through the ice and into the crevice. In a short while, there was ice foam flung out and snowflake like falling on the ice.

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