Editor's Note: The third SCNU English writing contest, themed "Telling China’s Story", ended with 422 entries from 33 different schools. We congratulate all prize winners on their outstanding performance. Awarded winners have been announced (see results), and all winning entries will be published in this column.


By Fu Jiamei

Trees, whatever they are, always have something to recommend themselves. Bamboo represents the carriage of nobleness. White poplar symbolizes the spirit of tenacity. In such circumstances, I prefer Silk Floss trees that are particularly praised for their vitality and value. At South China Normal University, Silk Floss trees are appealing and inspiring for both students on the campus and visitors from the outside.

All the way down to the School of Art, Silk Floss trees around the school somehow release a stopping signal far from distance, forcing passers-by to pause for a while, admiring with appreciation and gazing in awe. With a small stipule at the base of each leaf, the Silk Floss tree turns out to be a large deciduous tree of up to around twenty meters tall with grayish white bark and young trunks of thick conical spikes. The branches of the Silk Floss tree spread in several directions, gently hugging the sky around and violently expanding its shadow territory. 

When it is in blossom, the branches are studded with brightly purple flowers. Whenever there is a soft breeze, the bags of the purple become clusters of fire, as if our national flag joyfully waving at passers-by walking along the road. The Silk Floss trees at these times are full of vigor and passion, immersed themselves in those praise and compliment.


Silk Floss trees around the School of Art.

Unfortunately, in autumn, the first proper wind of the year will become a hardworking cleaner to collect all the blossoms of the Silk Floss trees, taking away their external beauty. Within several days, the ground on which ceiba trees firmly stand will suddenly lay itself a flower blanket over the road to the next crossroads. Stepping on that blanket, passengers will capture another picturesque scenery created by the Silk Floss trees. 

Of all those small stones and fallen leaves scattered on the ground, those purple flames gradually fade away. Without any decorations, loneliness will be written throughout their bunches and branches. At that particular moment, the Silk Floss trees seem to be down in spirit. However, have a careful look at the building behind the Silk Floss trees, you will find it a silent but loyal video recording the exact beauty of the trees day and night, be it a blossoming season or slack one. In this way, the building apparently proves itself a devoted fellow for the Silk Floss trees. 

Apart from the adorable building, the sky behind the Silk Floss trees is also sparing no effort to company the trees. When it is sunny, the deep blue sky will produce and deliver happiness and delightfulness to the trees. As violent storm attacks, the gray weather shares their sadness and loneliness, inspiring them to be confident in those lonely days. Comforted by these two fellows, the Silk Floss trees find out another way of earning their living and defining their value.

Dotted on that gorgeous flower blanket, multitudes of the petals of the Silk Floss trees are then picked up by people for different purposes. At a certain moment, some students in our campus might pick up a lightly red blossom, caress it tenderly from side to side and then carefully take a photo of it, feeling bright and warm inside because of this little tiny blossom. If picked up by people with great insight, what Silk Floss trees are become of is of more importance to human beings. It is estimated that those petals have the medical function of clearing heat and dampness, as well as relieving heat. Therefore, put those petals into porridge, the unusual heat of human beings will be cleared and uncommon coldness dispelled likewise. In that way, the internal beauty of the Silk Floss tress comes to be uncovered.

Despite their ornamental value and medical function, Silk Floss trees compose certain invisible spirit derived from the wisdom of people. It is said that Silk Floss trees are skillful and tough survivors of the dead winter. At the advent of the winter killer, Silk Floss trees will pretend to be dying by taking off their bark, escaping the relentless invasion of strong wind and cold air. Nevertheless, inside the grayish trunk, they are busying storing the energy and nutrition prepared for the coming spring. On hearing the close step of the spring, the Silk Floss trees will gradually cast off the green young leaves and cautiously bring out their red vigorous blossom, indicating the arrival of the new season. Sensing the breath of spring sent out by them, people become aware of the call of the new spring and reluctantly bid farewell to the old winter. 

Hence, people notice that Silk Floss trees are bursting with vitality and great tolerance. This reminds me of one of the school mottos of SCNU, that is, we shall always try to work hard. Faced with the severe challenges posed by the cold winter, the Silk Floss trees work hard to succeed in waiting for the vibrant spring. We, as the future of our nation, shall always bear it in mind that in order to have our dream come true, hard-working is what we shall all pay tribute to.

Right now, the Silk Floss trees are still standing erect on our campus in this chilly winter, preparing for their new phase of life. Likewise, with hope and vigor, the students on the campus and visitors outside there are also industriously chasing after their own goals of life and diligently defining their own value. I, therefore, for my part, feel blessed to stand with SCNU and our motherland.

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