A Brotherly Journey to See the Tianshan Snow Lotus

  I dwell in the Anjihai Reclamation Area on the southern fringe of the Junggar Basin at the northern base of the Tianshan Mountains. Beneath the azure sky and alabaster clouds, I stand on the expanse of Tuanchang and gaze southward. The snow-clad peaks of the Tianshan Mountains loom before me. In my childhood, I often beheld the silvery snow-capped summits with wonder. Especially in the sweltering summer, the towering snow peaks were too enticing for me. I heard that there are noble snow lotus flowers flourishing on the snow peaks.
  Years later, I have matured. The snow peak of Tianshan Mountain is still erect, its appearance has not altered, like a dignified and graceful mother, beckoning me to her embrace countless times in my dreams.
  That year, the Naadam Grassland Conference was convened at Lujiaowan Ranch at the northern foot of Tianshan Mountain. My Kazakh brother Sailimujiang invited me to his abode as a guest, which fulfilled my long-cherished wish of going to Tianshan Mountain to see snow lotus. The scenery of Antler Bay Ranch in July is captivating. Groups of cattle and sheep in the distance drift leisurely like white clouds strewn on the verdant grassland. The scattered yurts are like white mushrooms dotted on the green grass, making the grassland and pasture fresh and beautiful. In the south, the silver snow-capped peaks of Tianshan Mountain and the lush pine forest mirror the lovely face of Lujiao Bay like a colossal screen. It is said that Antler Bay derived its name from the many antlers dispersed on the green grass.
  The Naadam Conference in the grasslands of northern Xinjiang commenced. Friends of ethnic minorities in splendid ethnic costumes rode from all directions to the Lujiaowan Ranch, sat on the grass and conversed about today’s blissful life. I followed the dense throng of people from the main venue to the branch venue of the Aken Playing and Singing Club, and I was infected by laughter everywhere I went. I was afraid that Brother Sailimujiang had been waiting at home for a long time, so I reluctantly departed from the venue.
  I traversed a green meadow with wild flowers in full bloom, and in front of me was a pine forest, which stood luxuriantly along the mountain. Before I approached, the roar of the pines had already reached me, and the momentum was quite formidable, which made me feel a little apprehensive.
  The yurt of Sailimujiang’s family is between two big pine trees near the hillside, the shade is extremely cool, a yellow dog squats in front of the door and keeps barking, and the aroma of mutton wafts out of the yurt. Brother Mujiang ran out and recognized me, hugged me and said affectionately: “Brother, I haven’t seen you for many years, I miss you so much.” He patted my shoulder with his hands, “Go! Let’s go in and drink and eat meat .”
After the meal, I expressed my dream for many years: I want to go to the snow line of Tianshan Mountain to see snow lotus. After hearing this, Brother Mujiang patted his chest and said, “Okay! Leave it to your brother. Let’s go on horseback now. I know a shortcut, go up an ice ditch in the west, and you can reach the snow line of Tianshan Mountain in one morning.” So, we rode up along the ice ditch.”

A limpid, crystalline and meandering stream flows gently under our feet. On both sides of the ice ditch, there are luxuriant pine forests, verdant and green, impervious. There are many rocks in the ditch, and streams of clear water pass through the crevices between the boulders, and the sound of rushing water can be heard incessantly. There are bursts of pine waves in the pine forest, like thousands of troops shouting to kill, which makes people feel a little uneasy.
  I couldn’t help looking around, and Brother Mujiang saw my worry, and said calmly, “Don’t be afraid, there are often people riding up the mountain here, and now, wild wolves are seldom seen in the mountains.” We walked for about ten kilometers, Finally walking out of the pine forest, the front suddenly opened up, and patches of meadows appeared before me, and the green was full of vitality. Not far away, the snow-capped ridges of the Tianshan Mountains can be seen.
  Going forward, the mountain becomes steeper, and the ice ditch turns left and right like a dragon. We rode our horses and walked carefully on the gravel in the ditch. Brother Mujiang said excitedly: “You can see white snow when you come around this mountain. If we are lucky, we can see snow lotus.
  ” Therefore, in the past few years, many people went up to the mountain to pick snow lotus, and they were digging wildly. Now the snow lotus on the mountain is very rare. I remember when I was young, I could see the snow lotus from this ice ditch, but now I have to climb several snow mountains to see it. Arrived.” Saying that, Brother Mu Jiang’s complexion darkened. The clouds and mists on the mountain are getting denser and denser, as if they are going to drown us. Panting heavily, I finally climbed to the top of a small snow-covered mountain and realized my dream since I was a child.
  I saw white snow all around, and a vast expanse of whiteness in the distance, and the mist was lingering and it was a bit chilly. The clouds and mist floated around, almost touching. After a while, we seemed to be in the heavenly palace above the sea of ​​clouds, and we felt floating, but our whole body was cold and our hands and feet were numb. Fortunately, Brother Mujiang had already prepared sheepskin coats. We wrapped them tightly and climbed towards a higher snow mountain, hoping to find traces of snow lotus.
  Suddenly, a group of green shadows on the cliff not far away came into my sight. “Isn’t that Xuelian?” I said hastily. “Really!” Brother Mujiang said in astonishment.
  Because the cliff is so high that people cannot go up, this snow lotus was not picked. We can only watch from afar. The emerald green snow lotus is particularly bright against the white snow, and it also reveals a kind of nobleness standing proudly in the snow, which makes people feel admiration.
  ”Fortunately, the county has begun to protect the rare snow lotus, and has formulated a series of measures to strictly prohibit random picking. I believe they will grow more and more.” Brother Mujiang said with emotion.
  On the way down the mountain, Mujiang said to me excitedly: “The country implements the strategy of rural revitalization and builds beautiful villages. A new village has been built for the herdsmen at the foot of the mountain. The houses are all brick and tile houses, spacious and bright. The herdsmen have moved to the foot of the mountain to settle down one after another. , ended the nomadic life of our Kazakh ancestors for generations. Last year, my family also moved to the new village of herdsmen at the foot of the mountain.

This yurt in Lujiao Bay is a mujiale specially for tourists. There are a lot of tourists in Lujiao Bay every year. My family’s Mujiale In addition to the family’s cattle and sheep, the income is doubling every year, and the life of our herdsmen is really sweeter than honey!” I couldn’t help
  thinking that thirty years ago, the Mujiang brothers’ family only had a few camels, an old yurt, and a flock of sheep. , living a nomadic life with no fixed residence. Looking at the happy expressions of Mujiang brothers, the scene of his family going down the mountain to graze in the late autumn of that year appeared in front of my eyes: it was already November, and the
  night was cold, and the crops in the regiment and company fields had all been harvested. Plowing was about to begin. His family’s yurt was planted in the cotton field that our company had just harvested in autumn. One night, when the temperature dropped suddenly and it snowed heavily, Mujiang’s father hurriedly knocked on the door of my house, saying that the seven-year-old Xiao Mujiang had a severe fever, and asked my father to find a doctor for him. Looking at Mujiang’s father’s anxious expression, my father hurried out to find Aunt Li, the health worker of the company, in the snow.
  Aunt Li came, listened to Mujiang’s lungs through the receiver, took his temperature, and said, “The child has a fever of over 39 degrees. I’ll give him an antipyretic injection right away, and we’ll check again in an hour.” Aunt Li As he spoke, he deftly drew the medicine into the needle tube, and injected Mu Jiang’s buttocks. My mother brought clean water and applied a wet towel to Xiao Mujiang’s forehead. About an hour later, Aunt Li took Mujiang’s temperature again, touched his forehead and said happily: “Great, the fever is gone.” My father smiled and said to Mujiang’s father: “Xiao Mujiang It’s all right.” After hearing this, Mu Jiang’s father shook my father’s and Aunt Li’s hands and nodded repeatedly, saying thank you in broken Chinese. At this time, the snow outside was getting bigger and bigger, and the ground was already white.
  The next day, his father sent Xiao Mujiang back to his family’s yurt, and saw that the yurt was cold and not warm at all. It turned out that the heavy snow came too suddenly, and the stove was not ready for the fire in the yurt. My father said worriedly: “It’s so cold in the yurt, and Xiao Mujiang’s illness hasn’t completely recovered, I’m afraid it won’t work! So, I’ll go back and find you an iron stove, a tin chimney, and some coal. Let’s light up the stove first.” Not long after, he appeared outside the yurt pulling a rack cart loaded with coal and a stove. After being busy for a while, looking at the roaring stove in the yurt, my father showed a satisfied smile.
  The yurt gradually warmed up. His father touched Xiao Mujiang’s forehead wrapped in a fur coat and lying on the bed, and said to him with a smile, “Little guy, take a good rest for two days and you’ll be fine. Wait a while, and Dr. Li will come over again.” Get an injection to strengthen it.” Mujiang’s father said to my father gratefully: “Thank you so much, bro, you are my son’s lifesaver, and our family will always remember your kindness.” My father waved his hands and smiled He said: “This is what it should be. We are brothers of all ethnic groups. If brothers have something to do, can I not help?”
  Since then, Sailimujiang’s family has been grateful to my family. Some beef and mutton. My mother will also send some rice noodles to their family. The two families walked around like relatives, Mu Jiang recognized my father as godfather, and Mu Jiang and I became brothers.
  Brother Mujiang called me from the front: “Brother! Why are you so dazed? We are about to leave the ice ditch.”

I looked up, and the red sunset had already burned the western sky crimson. In the distance, the green grassland forest and silver mountain peaks are soaked in the bright red afterglow. Antler Bay is bathed in the rays of the sun, like a beautiful woman in red, enchanting and alluring. The green grass seems to be covered with a layer of red clouds, which is so beautiful that it makes people mesmerized. The colorful wild flowers all over the ground are charming and moving in the sunlight.
  At this moment, the Lujiaowan Ranch is as quiet as a virgin, lying in Tianshan’s mother’s arms and fast asleep. Mother Tianshan silently guards the grassland and forest she bred; she guards the oasis and pasture she bred; she also guards the brothers and sisters of all ethnic groups living on this land.
  When we parted, I held brother Mu Jiang’s hand, I had thousands of words in my heart but couldn’t say a word. Brother Mujiang sent me to the side of the road in the ranch. He hugged me tightly and whispered in my ear: “Brother! Next time I come, I will take you to the snow peak of Tianshan Mountain to see the snow lotus.” I nodded vigorously, Reluctantly bid farewell to him, and also bid farewell to this magical and magnificent Tianshan Mountain. Wherever I go, I will never forget this brotherly Tianshan snow lotus…

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