I never knew that there was such beautiful unspoiled land in Taiwan. It was a chilly winter morning when Shyi-Dong and I took some friends to a hot spring which was discovered in 惠蓀 forest recently. The trip was planned a month ago, but we almost had to give it up because it rained hard the night before. Even though the rain stopped in the morning we were worried that the ground might be too soft for a heavy vehicle. However, it was impossible to reschedule the trip, so with some hesitation, we hopped in a four-wheel-driven van to start our exploration.

The van choked and panted, climbing up the steep slopes. Soon the cliff was under our feet and the peaks of the mountains were beyond our sight. The scenery was spectacular, but we felt as if our hearts were about to jump out of our mouths at every sharp turn the van made. It seemed like ages to wind around the mountains, and finally we reached the valley. With great relief we hopped out of the van and walked along the creek to look for the hot spring. The creek rushed through the valley with the muddy water churning and rolling due to the heavy rainfall the night before. In the creek, huge boulders choked its bed alerting us to the danger of falling rocks from the cliffs. The air was crispy, fresh and fragrant with a mix of flowers. We were alone except for a few birds soaring in the sky. Out of nowhere, we found a stream of hot water running down the face of a huge boulder. It formed a pool at the foot of the mountain and the water was crystal clear. Looking at the steaming hot spring which was surrounded with trees and rocks, I felt like I was standing in a picturesque paradise. It was so tempting to jump into the hot spring, but we were all bundled up with heavy winter clothes. The valley was serene and quiet. It made me think the real beauty is just being simple and natural. It is rare to find untouched land in Taiwan. The rarity makes this place very unique.

I wish I could have just stayed in the mountains to enjoy the beauty of nature, but I already promised my parents to take them to watch a music show later in the evening. Without any choice, I reluctantly left the forest at noon and took the high-speed rail to Taipei.

A few months ago, my father was in ICU and almost lost his life. It was a blessing that he survived and recovered. However, he was still very weak. Even though it was quite a challenge to take him out for a show, I still wanted to give it a try because the singer, Ms. Chou Lin Zan was my parents’ favorite. Who knows whether there is sill an opportunity for them to see her live show again because she is also getting old.

When we got to the concert hall, I was surprised to see the hall was packed. Most people were my parents’ age, in their 80s or 90s. Some could barely walk and some could barely hear. However, no one could hide their excitement. It was hard to understand what kind of magic power brought together all these people who struggled with health problems to enjoy a singer who was not young and beautiful anymore. Her voice even cracked sometimes. However, I saw something unique which I had never seen in other performances. Ms. Zan’s tremendous effort brought those seniors back to their good old days. Her performance was greatly appreciated by the audience because she had given up her singing career at a young age and only started singing again last year. Ms. Zan made me think that the real beauty of great work is the effort put forth. It is hard to find a singer who still keeps her glamour after she stopped performing for nearly forty years. Again, the rarity makes this performance very unique.

These two unrelated events made me think hard. I hope that I can make a breakthrough in dance after putting great effort into it for years. My resolution for this year should be transforming myself in dance. I am willing to face my weaknesses and tackle any difficulties. One day I should be proud of myself because my dance looks unique especially I am not a professional dancer.

Bih-Hua Chen
January 6, 2010