Unveiling Life’s Challenges Through ‘River in the Snow’

I am a hobo now roving in South China. My days consist of fading images from the past. They produce a deafening sound of silence. My life is still wrapped in the majestic mountains of Yongzou. Despite their life-saving presence, I keep wondering what makes human existence consistent. To tell the truth, I currently have plenty of time to meditate upon this concern. Today, my feet brought me to Solitary Hill where Ifound the answer. I discovered a poem

written by Liu Zongyuan – “River in the Snow.” It attracted my attention with important words of wisdom. I started to think how those rhetorical phrases can relate to my life challenges in China. I have not been hailed a hero. Instead, I have been forced to leave my adopted home for political reasons. The third exile depended on my personal attributes and attitude towards various issues. That life seems to be in the dim and distant past. The present moment encourages me to participate in the discussion with Zongyuan.


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The poem ‘River in the Snow’ contains important insights concerning the events a human being experiences throughout his or her life. It reveals how unpredictable the road can become. For instance, Zongyuan mentions initially “a thousand mountains” (Klein, n.d). They portray that a traveler encounters many challenges before he or she can complete a journey. The vivid description of numerous mountains symbolizes time required to pass them. Moreover, the journey through the challenges of life does not always resemble pleasant stroll. In fact, it brings a wanderer to the driest deserts and the greatest storms. My own exploration during three exiles has been composed of challenges and trials imposed by both social and inner instabilities. Thousands of mountains have occurred in my life as I had been struggling to meet my political objectives.

Having thought much about the issues in life, I understood that I do not know what to expect from my current journey. I have a chance to rest observing the beauty of hilly landscapes. I can feel genuine nature. The poem interrupts the frantic flow of thoughts allowing me to reflect on the description of the mountainous areas and the hardship of traversing Solitary Hill. It is the moment of truth. I am imagining thousand of mountains in front of me which turn into suffer and joy, anger and happiness, hate and love. The poem has just opened my eyes to the complex beauty of the world where one cannot exist without another.

“Birds in flight cut off” (Klein, n.d) symbolize the hardships that occur for a traveler on the path full of mountains. Birds are tired. They cannot continue to fly as a human being cannot continue his journey if it does not bring joy and peace. The poem makes me think about my political career and the reasons for continuous difficulties. It reminds me of prevailing tiredness I witnessed during these couple of years. In addition, the Solitary Hills stimulate my imagination allowing me to experience the struggles of the birds in flying over the mountainous area. Now, I realize how tired I am to walk across the hills. My throat is dry. I cannot control my body. Every part of it is so unbelievably weak. I know that the rugged areas do not only provide peace and tranquility.

The discussion on life struggles can relate to “ten thousand paths.” It seems that paths are endless. Without a shadow of a doubt, they are aimed at confusing a traveler who hesitates at the crossroads. “Ten thousand paths” describe the way of life, especially the idea of solving problems that come in series of events. The mind is limited because it allows to make only one decision disregarding the possible outcomes hidden around the corner. The choice a human being makes can influence adversely the life. Eventually, he or she can be easily forgotten despite his or her determined efforts to bring justice. Newcomers will substitute you leaving no other paths.

My pain enables me to understand the nature of solitude and sorrow. A traveler should keep his mind bright in order to face the struggles in life. One will meet various hardships in solitude. In fact, “a solitary boat” contains an old man who is fishing alone. He is on the cold river covered with snow. The discussion of an old man elicits crucial thoughts about the shortness of life where the strength is gone and the death is inevitable. The poem carries me to a solitary place full of gloom. The Solitary Hill portrays the pale side of life, a place where a person is able to reflect more about the challenges in life. I am grateful for my exile because I can be present neat flowing river enjoying the solitude of the mountainous area. Perhaps my exile is important as I received a chance to talk with Zongyuan. His intriguing poem not only describes my current journey but also provides an insight on the life experiences. In solitude, I met the old man fishing. When thinking about the life the old man might have lived, I understood that acceptance of the moment can be rewarding. I imagined that the old man’s only option is fishing on a snowy river. However, he feels peace being where he is.

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