After the Ear Grain, the copious rains momentarily ceased, and the weather finally commenced to clear up. During the weekend, Luo Feifei and his spouse embarked on an excursion. While traversing the scenic road encircling the lake, they caught sight of an estate. Recollecting that a comrade had captured breathtaking photographs of Lingxiao blossoms in this vicinity a few days ago, they resolved to alight from their vehicle and explore further.
Ren Shaohang circumnavigated the estate and observed that all three gates were firmly shut. Seated at the rear, Luo Feifei possessed keen vision and espied an entryway through the verdant belt. Thus, she entreated him to park the car at the roadside. As they ventured forth, they discovered that the formerly thriving manor now lay desolate.
No caretaker tended to this estate presently, and it remained devoid of visitors. Solely the melodious twittering of birds pervaded the tranquility. The flower stand was adorned with resplendent Lingxiao blossoms, while white gardenias flourished nearby. Upon setting her eyes upon this picturesque scene, Luo Feifei brimmed with delight. She meandered along this exquisite corridor, incessantly capturing images with her mobile device. Ren Shaohang trailed behind. Whenever she found a suitable angle, Luo Feifei promptly summoned her husband to capture a portrait of her alongside Ling Xiaohua.
Luo Feifei cast a wistful gaze toward the restaurant on the left and uttered with a tinge of melancholy, “I recollect visiting this place six or seven years ago. At that time, my workplace organized trade union activities, and the entire manor teemed with vitality and prosperity. Lingxiao flower stands were nonexistent then, but peach blossoms graced the wooden abode. And the apricot blossoms bloomed exquisitely.”
“Back then, this was the grandest manor eatery in Liucheng, complete with check-in counters for assorted internet celebrities. I, too, have frequented this establishment, but I found the influx of diners excessive, with certain individuals prone to littering. Coupled with kitchen refuse, it adversely affected the environment,” Ren Shaohang remarked while surveying his surroundings. Suddenly, his eyes alighted upon a distant lawn, and his countenance lit up. “Let us proceed thither and explore, for there is a bus stationed yonder.” He clasped Luo Feifei’s hand and propelled her forward.
An aged mint green minibus rested upon the lawn. Luo Feifei reminisced that this spot once served as a backdrop for wedding photography. Although the manor now lay deserted, it exuded a distinctive ambiance accentuated by the surrounding foliage.
“My cousin, too, had her wedding photos captured here, and they exuded artistry and freshness.”
The youthful couple grew more playful, capturing numerous splendid snapshots with the bus as their backdrop, which they promptly shared on WeChat Moments. Their friends showered them with likes, with some inquiring about the location, captivated by its unique scenery. Amidst these photographic moments, memories of their youth came flooding back, and they felt as though they were reliving their love.
After concluding their photography session, the young couple strolled along the lakeside within the manor. Beneath the sunshine, the lake surface glistened, while white clover and various other plants blanketed the shores, captivating onlookers with their ethereal beauty. Luo Feifei lamented mildly that the manor had ceased operations, yet Ren Shaohang countered, asserting, “Do you not perceive that the manor, in its current state, is livelier and more resplendent than during its bustling days?” Luo Feifei was about to refute his claim when, suddenly, they encountered a septuagenarian gentleman.
This sixty-year-old man possessed a radiant countenance and brimmed with vitality as he sat by the lake, engaged in fishing. At last, upon encountering someone within the manor, the couple quietly observed him. After a while, the old man successfully caught a fish. Curiously, he released the fish back into the water. Was he merely relishing the process?
“Uncle, may I inquire why you engage in fishing only to release the fish?” Luo Feifei could not resist asking. The old man erupted into hearty laughter and responded, “In truth, I fish as a means to assess the water quality. The lake was previously contaminated.” The two parties engaged in conversation and reminisced about this manor’s bygone glory.
Recalling an interview he had read earlier, Ren Shaohang scrutinized the old man’s appearance and attentively listened to their dialogue. After a moment of silence, he ventured forth, “Might I inquire if you are Xu Yousheng, the proprietor of this manor? I recall reading about you in an interview.”
The old man turned his headand looked at Ren Shaohang with surprise. “You know about me?” he asked, his eyes twinkling with curiosity.
Ren Shaohang nodded and explained, “Yes, I read an interview where you shared your story and your efforts to restore the water quality of this lake. It was truly inspiring.”
Xu Yousheng smiled warmly and beckoned the young couple to sit beside him. He began to recount his journey. “Many years ago, this manor was a thriving establishment, but with progress came pollution. The lake suffered greatly, and its once-pristine waters turned murky and lifeless. It broke my heart to see the deterioration, so I made it my mission to restore its beauty.”
He continued, “I spent years studying environmental science and learning about water purification techniques. I worked tirelessly to clean the lake, removing pollutants and introducing natural filtration systems. It was a long and arduous process, but gradually, the water quality improved.”
Luo Feifei and Ren Shaohang listened intently, captivated by Xu Yousheng’s dedication and passion. They realized that the serenity and vibrancy they experienced in the manor were a result of his tireless efforts.
Xu Yousheng shared, “Now, the lake is teeming with life once again. Fish have returned, and the ecosystem has started to flourish. I continue to monitor the water quality and conduct research to ensure its long-term sustainability. It brings me great joy to witness the transformation.”
Luo Feifei expressed her admiration, “You have truly made a difference, Uncle Xu. Your dedication and love for this place are inspiring. Thank you for preserving its beauty for future generations to enjoy.”
Ren Shaohang added, “Your work serves as a reminder that even in the face of adversity, individuals can make a positive impact on the environment. We should all strive to protect and nurture the natural world.”
Xu Yousheng nodded appreciatively. “Indeed, every small action counts. It is our responsibility to be stewards of the Earth and ensure its well-being. I’m glad to see young people like you who are passionate about nature and its preservation.”
As the sun began to set, casting a warm golden glow over the manor, Luo Feifei and Ren Shaohang bid farewell to Xu Yousheng. They left with a renewed sense of appreciation for the beauty of nature and a determination to make a positive impact in their own lives.
The deserted manor, once an emblem of prosperity, had transformed into a sanctuary of serenity and hope. Its story, intertwined with the dedication of Xu Yousheng, served as a reminder that even in the quietest corners, there lies the potential for remarkable change and the preservation of natural wonders.