I recently read a short story “House Number” by Olga Tocalchuk, the winner of the 2018 Nobel Prize in Literature, and I am very impressed. The protagonist is a cleaning lady, responsible for the cleaning of all rooms on the second floor of the Capital Hotel. The novel describes the female worker in the process of cleaning, through the traces left in the room, imagine the scene of the guest’s life here, infer the character of the guest.
Most people have travel experience and have stayed in various hostels. The cleaners basically enter the room when the guests are not present, and we rarely interact with them. Maybe not many people realize how well these cleaning ladies know us.
Because it is a hostel, hurriedly settled down, few people pay attention to maintaining the cleanliness of the room: throwing bath towels indiscriminately, dragging the quilt to the floor, leaning the chair, and the lamp is not turned off, these are common things. What does it matter? We paid for the accommodation and someone will clean it anyway. Just go out and come back as clean as new. If the checkout leaves, then it has nothing to do with us.
However, what the cleaning lady saw was life in every state: room 227 exudes a heavy smell of cigarettes, alcohol and all kinds of ancient strange smells every day, and there is a glass of wine, soot, and juice spilled everywhere. , A trash can filled with empty bottles of vodka, tonic water and cognac. In Room 224, a Japanese couple lived in it. Every time she cleans this room, she feels moved, because she is shocked that there is such a way of existence. The room is very tidy, as if it has never been moved.
We don’t need to treat the hostel as our own home, but we at least don’t make it too messy. We can at least fold the bath towels, tidy up the quilt, pull up the chairs, turn off the lamp, and take out some trash by the way. This is also good for us-I don’t think anyone likes to expose their privacy, even unconsciously. We don’t need to live in the eyes of others, but we need to be responsible for ourselves. Our education, our civilization, is reflected in such inadvertent behavior.
The Namaquaran region in southern Africa is a magical land, vast and inhospitable, with aridity and little rain. For most of the year, it is exposed to the scorching sun and raging sand. Only the most tenacious life can live in this area. Continued on barren land. The quiver tree is one of the few strong people here.
Quiver tree is a kind of tall tree, generally can grow to 15-20 meters high, the trunk can be up to 2 meters thick, and the tree age is up to 100 years. It is a rare large plant in the local area. Because the locals often hollow out its branches or stems for arrows, this kind of tree is called the quiver tree.
In this desert area where it is difficult to survive, the quiver tree can survive so well, and it must have its unique skills.
When the rainy season comes, in order to absorb water, the quiver tree opens all its thick leaves, like an open mouth, desperately sucking hard-earned rainwater, and sending it into the trunk through an internal pipe for storage as a dry season grain reserves. It also lost no time in blooming clusters of gorgeous and beautiful flowers, attracting sunbirds to collect nectar, pollinate themselves, and multiply their offspring.
In the dry season, God is not only reluctant to let a drop of rain fall here, but on the contrary, he cruelly evaporates the water that the creatures on the ground depend on for survival. The quiver tree has to use the food stored in the body to ensure its survival. At the same time, it will take root deeply, go deeper underground, and look for water in the depths.
The drought is getting worse, and the scorching sun seems to be scorching the land. Many weak plants have dried up, and they have to turn into seeds to wait for the coming of the next rainy season. The quiver tree stood upright unyieldingly, enduring the torment of the intense heat and resisting the venomous sunlight.
When enduring the limit, an amazing scene appeared. I saw that part of the branches of the quiver tree broke automatically. What’s more, all the branches of a tree were automatically broken, leaving only the trunk. It turned out that it was “losing the pawn and protecting the car” in order to reduce the consumption of water and nutrients, and supply limited water and nutrients to the main body to ensure that the main body does not die. When the rainy season comes, it will flourish again.
The reason why the quiver tree can survive in such a harsh environment depends on its wisdom and feat of “self-mutilating” survival.
There is a saying in Namaquaran: People shed tears twice when visiting Namaquaran, the first time when they arrive, and the second time when they leave. People who have been here have a deep understanding of this sentence: when they arrive, they sigh at the harshness and harshness of the environment, but when they leave, they are convinced by the tenacity and endlessness of life.