“Survivors”

“Survivors,” a piece by Rolf Yngve (fiction, ’12) appeared recently at The Common, as part of their “Dispatches” feature.

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We took the fast train to Beijing across hours of deadened countryside where all the trees grow in rows, various heights, but all new and emaciated under the dusting of early leaves. I asked an acquaintance what happened to all the old trees. Was this a result of the Cultural Revolution? He said, maybe they ate them. They ate grass sometimes. Maybe they cut them down for firewood. Now and then you see some that don’t look planted; volunteers, they had been fattened up by age and randomly placed. There are always survivors.

The train whistled us over nearly a thousand miles in less than six hours, a smooth, silent ribbon pulled gracefully through the hard fingers of this landscape. It was comfortable, well ventilated, warm, and the seats gracefully proportioned. Between Shanghai and Beijing, we stopped at four stations. This was the cleanly constructed new China. Big expanses of glistening escalators and parking complexes void of even a single passenger or vehicles. …[Keep Reading]…

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