Summer in a Chinese city is generally a time to stifle. These are days when any destination south of the Yellow River seems as enticing as a steam bath to a man who’s just spent too long in a sauna. These are the ninety-odd days when it’s safe and pleasant for the modest of constitution to visit Inner Mongolia.
But we’re not taking you on another predictable trip to the boundless grasslands. Even the mighty Genghis got the blahs from his native steppes. Not until he reached the northeastern crook, where field gives way to forest, in the lee of the Xing’an mountains, was he inspired to join all his truculent people under one formidable banner. “Moerdaoga!”, “On your horses – to battle!”, he yawped.
The world would never be the same. But the forests of Moerdaoga are, as far as can be expected in an age when money speaks louder than khans. So if you can make it out to Eerguna city, then secure passage to Moerdaoga forest, you will have left China and its vernal discomforts far behind without needing a visa. Words fall short of describing the peace, the lack of bipedal creatures such as thou – common words, anyway. The poems of the Mongols, however, more than suffice, as large-spirited yet little-known as a half-million-hectare forest in Inner Mongolia.
I look at a mountain and know that I am mountain
I observe mist and perceive that I am cloud
After rain sprinkles I sense that I am grass
As soon as the sparrow’s twittering begins, I remember
that I am morning
I am not merely human
When a star flares up I know that I am darkness
As soon as girls shed their thick winter clothes, I remember
that I am spring
When I smell only longing from every person in the universe
My ever more tranquil heart understands that it is a fish’s
I am not merely human
Under a multi-colored sky the immense VOID,
From today on I, only…
This is my native land
Mongolia the beautiful!
And as this fine country and I
Have the same luck
I love this my native country
As my own body
I was born in a herdsman’s abode
Where cattle dung smoke use to whirl,
So I imagine my virgin land
As my own babyhood cradle.
Looking at the distant view
Where rises asure mist,
Gazing at my spacious country
I always feel boundless happiness.
And I compare my transparent rivers
To my mother’s milk.
For in this country I am a Lord
For my part I’m its child.
When you plant a spreading tree,
From each branch the fruits will come.
When you have friendship with a good person,
Brightness and wisdom will appear.
The sky and the earth gaze at each other,
Losing patience, they meet through a fog.
The sky, open all day, to guard people,
Rests his lashes with shadow, so jealous is he.