Yin Yuzhen, the Robinia, also pursued her dreams. She lives six kilometers from Niu Yuqin.
Forty days after her marriage brought her into the desert, she saw a stranger deep in the desert, she shouted and waved, scaring the stranger who then ran off. She followed the footprints, talking to them, "Who are you? Why did you come into the desert? Do you have a bitter fate like I do?"
The dreams of love and a beautiful life she had had as a girl were crushed because of the desert. She vowed to herself, "I'd rather die of exhaustion planting trees; I won't let myself be bullied to death by the sand."
Planting trees made her so exhausted she gave birth prematurely. The raging wind was howling, and the sand was biting her face. She leaned against the wall to stand up and bit her braid with her teeth, and with one push her child came tumbling out on the sand. She cut the umbilical cord and slapped the baby on the buttocks, and it cried. It was a boy. She said, "You have a great destiny, like your mother."
Another year, as Yin Yuzhen was carrying tree seedlings into the desert, she wasn't so lucky and had a miscarriage.
She buried the unborn child in the desert and planted a ring of trees around it, and to her child who never saw the earth's gorgeous greenery she said, "I'm sorry for how I treated you. I’m planting these trees around you so you'll be surrounded by life."
Love and hate, smiles and tears, life and death—dreams are an integral part of the lives of the people living on China’s northern tier.
During our interviews, Niu Yuqin, who always wore a white scarf around her neck, took us climbing the hills in her forest several times. Sometimes a smile with a hint of loneliness in it could be briefly glimpsed on her face.
As of now Niu Yuqin has brought more than 7,000 hectares of desert under control and reached the limit permitted by her administrative district. Forced to curb her tree planting, this environmental hero who never met a desert that she couldn't tame lost the purpose of her life.
She feels the pain and melancholy of being deprived of the opportunity to pursue her dreams.
Suddenly, we recall the answer to her biggest dream -- going back to the past and standing alone on the desert.
Every tree planter is a person who follows a green dream. Time after time their scars mount up, and then they are reborn out of the ashes. Every time they finish a project and are given awards, they never think of resting on their laurels, but only of starting over.
They are always unreconciled to fate, fight all obstacles tenaciously, and constantly press forward. Their lives never have an ending, but always a new beginning.
This is the spirit of the northern tier! These are the people of the northern tier!Continued: Oasis of the Soul