Enjoying Rime in Jilin
By Wang Yongli
In the north of China, the land becomes empty in winter. Aside from the howling winds and piercingly cold currents, the earth seems to lack vigor and fresh colour. The people feel often depressed, the ancients calling it "autumn injury " or " winter injury". But friends, it is at this time that nature presents a surprise to the northern people. The surprise is the snow, and the beauty of the snow makes the winter of northern China picturesque. To make the thing more surprising, nature presents another treasure– rime.
The rime is as beautiful as the snow. Tang Dynasty poet Cen Can wrote a poem: "The north wind rolls over the white grass and breaks it; the snow across the tartar sky of the eighth month is like a spring gale, coming up in the night, blowing open the petals of ten thousand pear trees.” The rime is a similarly magnificent wonder. But where in the north has such beautiful scenery? I would say that only in Jilin province can you see such magnificent wonders. White jade covered trees and white flower filled branches—this is the famous Jilin rime! It is comparable to the magnificent Guilin scenery, the Yunnan Stone Forest, and the Yangtze River’s Three Gorges, China's four natural wonders, and every year attracts tens of thousands of Chinese and foreign tourists.
Why does God love Jilin so much and endow such a natural wonder upon it? A tour guide will tell you it is formed by the interaction of cold air and warm water. In Jilin province the winter climate is chilly in the morning, generally - 20-25℃. Despite Songhua Lake having one metre thick ice, you will see a flowing current from the sluice dam of the Fengman Hydropower Station with a temperature of 4℃. The 25-30℃. temperature difference makes the water from the gate rise like fog. Once the dozen kilometres of fog touch the land it quickly freezes, forming the rime. Because there are many gaps between the droplets, the rime is completely opaque white. When the soft white rime attaches to objects like trees, it looks like the branches have white flowers in full bloom, comely, refined, miraculous. The Jilin Songhua River rime is well known in East Asia. It lasts for a long time according to the Jilin meteorological station records, the rime season begins from late November and remains until next year’s early March.
Fortunately I saw the miracle once when I went to Jilin to visit some friends. It was early morning and an auspicious promoter persuaded me onto a tourist bus and said: "Teacher Wang, today please do nothing but enjoy the rime. Although the northeast does not snow for a long time, the rime can be spectacular. If you don’t go have a look, you will regret it all your life!"
The river appeared in front of me; I had never seen such a spectacle. The Songjiang River was dozens of kilometres long, with a swift current, both banks covered with white snow and ice. The rows of willow looked like "three thousand feet of snowy white hair", and the pine trees looked like "jade chrysanthemums in full bloom". The rime was very pretty and charming, beautiful and gentle. It seemed to be a picturesque wonderland. The poem of Comrade Jiang Zemin goes as follows: "the cold river and snowy willows make the day fresh and fine, the white flowers and jade trees seem as spring. Through the days nature created this scene and all things in the world out of hardship." It is a very appropriate metaphor to describe the beautiful scenery.
While the most touching beauty in the rime were the people of Jilin, especially the beautiful girls all dolled up, making various graceful poses for the camera and the tourists. The standard of everybody’s lives are enhanced, girl and boy, old and young, every face reveals heartfelt joy, their healthy skin and beautiful clothes revealing a rich life, their shining smiles showing real life satisfaction. "One more picture! It's so beautiful. With the trees will be even more beautiful. Please one more shot!" Endless laughter could be heard. People walked through the painting leaving a trail of smiles. In the picturesque rime what they left good memories, and took an expectation for a better tomorrow and a longing for a brilliant future.
Willows bloom silver flowers and pine trees bloom jade chrysanthemums. While appreciating beauty, at the same time people breathe the freshest clean air. When I inhaled the air into my lungs it felt very moist and the vigor of my spirit seemed to enhance. There is a bar on natural oxygen for people like me who have lived and worked in a big dry city for a long time. According to the introduction rime is an "environmental guardian”, "longevity factor", and has the functions of dust elimination, sterilization, promotion of the new over the old, and acceleration of blood circulation. It also can adjust one’s nervous system, improving immunity and overall health. In the thick of rime, under low temperatures the thawed river evaporates water vapor, forming an "electric spray effect" and promoting air ionization. According to the survey, on the banks of Jilin’s Songhua River, negative oxygen ions per cubic centimetre number from one thousand and can be than more than five times this when there is no rime.
Some tour guides might say their hometown is the best, and there is some exaggeration, I estimate, for a certain proportion. However, Chinese and foreign tourists do praise Jilin rime for its distinguished air of elegance, coquetry and uniquely charming wonder.
Friends, if you have the opportunity to visit Jilin you had better have a look for the rime, for the Jilin rime has a well-deserved reputation as “the best in all the land!"