Wetland, Everglades NP, FL

The second national park I visited in U.S., Everglades. It is well known for being the habitats for numerous precious species. During our visit, we saw various kinds of birds, fish and plants. But the two highlights of this trip: For the first time, I saw so many crocodile at the same time. Apparently, there are many subspecies of crocodile, and south Florida, including Everglades, is the only place in the world where American crocodile and alligator coexist. We even heard the sound of crocodile (kind of scary)! And, when we took a boat tour inside the park, we saw a fisherman caught a shark! Wow!

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Mt. Jiuyi, Ningyuan, Hunan

It’s a winter morning when we visited Mt. Jiuyi in South Hunan. Rolling hills were hidden in the morning mist, as if they were not awake yet, while a flock of ducks quacked and followed the master all the way down to the field, hoping that they can get a first bite of the breakfast. What an interesting scene! According to Records of the Grand Historian (《史記》), Mt. Jiuyi is the burial place of Emperor Shun (舜帝), one of the “Three Sovereigns and Five Emperors” (三皇五帝) in ancient China. Many people may also learn about Mt. Jiuyi through one of Mao Zedong’s poems, which starts with Emperor Shun’s legendary stories:

七律 • 答友人 (毛澤東)

九嶷山下白雲飛,帝子乘風下翠微。斑竹一枝千滴淚,紅霞萬朵百重衣。

洞庭波湧連天雪,長島人歌動地詩。我欲因之夢寥廓,芙蓉國裡儘朝暉。

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Tulips, Boston, MA

Spring is always quite short in Boston and everything seems to happen overnight — All of a sudden, we welcome the season of tulips! There are a few different types of tulips in the public garden, the classical yellow tulips, the red and purple ones, and even the black tulips (which look great!). All-together, the public garden has turned into a sea of tulips.

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Back Bay Fens, Boston, MA

This spring comes a bit late — though it is mid-April now, flowers are not quite ready to bloom and trees are not prepared to wearing on the green “clothes” yet. But there are always early birds. Right in the Back Bay Fens, the only tree with lovely small red flowers attracted not only me, but also a couple of American Robin.

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Lotus, Changsha, Hunan

Different from the Western arts, which emphasize on delivering a picture of the reality, Chinese arts are more likely to pass a mood. When I took this picture, I didn’t feel like I was taking a picture of lotus — It simply reminded me a poem by the poet Shangyin Li (李商隱) from Tang Dynasty, and I sensed what he might have felt thousands of years ago: a combination of the pleasure to see the beautiful scenes and a little bit sadness of missing friends who were thousands of miles away.

宿駱氏亭寄懷崔雍崔袞 (唐 · 李商隱)

竹塢無塵水檻清,相思迢遞隔重城。

秋陰不散霜飛晚,留得枯荷聽雨聲。

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Bulrush marsh, Yuanjiang, Hunan

A new year visit to Yuanjiang, a small city sitting on the tip of south Lake Dongting (洞庭湖).  Lake Dongting is among the largest lakes in China. With Lake Poyang (鄱陽湖), Lake Tai (太湖) and Lake Hongze (洪澤湖), they are called the four largest freshwater lakes in China. Interestingly, Lake Dongting is also the natural border of two provinces in China: Hunan and Hubei, with “Hunan” means “south of the Lake” while “Hubei” means “north of the Lake”. As a city sitting so close to Lake Dongting, Yuanjiang enjoys really rich natural resources and scenes, such as the large bulrush marsh. It’s almost the sunset time when we came to the marsh. Though we were told that winter is not the best season to visit the marsh and lake, it’s still quite amazing to see the bulrush swaying gentlely in the dusk.

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Chihuly Garden and Glass, Seattle, WA

Chihuly Garden and Glass is a museum located at Seattle Center which dedicates to showcasing Dale Chihuly’s work. Walking in the museum, I was truly stunned by all these gorgeous pieces of arts. One of the reasons that I love this museum is that every piece of arts seemed to have its own story. In one room you could see a collection of glass in the shape of different plants with shining colors, which seemed to explain to you the biodiversity of tropical rainforest, in another room you would find a boat full of treasures stopping in the still water, splendid yet peaceful. And standing in the glasshouse in a sunny day, looking up to the huge glass flowers and the lofty Space Needle, it’s just beautiful!

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Cherry Blossom, Washington, DC

Every year from late March to early April, there is a traditional National Cherry Blossom Festival at Washington DC. Part of the reasons I visited DC this time is cherry blossom. Unfortunately, we had a pretty long winter as well as a cold spring this year, and the result is, blossoms are a little bit reluctant to open. However, there are always some early birds. When I walked through the 14th street right in front of the District of Columbia Government, these few cherry blossom trees surely stun me: As I looked up, I just felt like being surrounded by pink clouds, and immersed in a sea of flowers. Fabulous!

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