The scenery of Dahe Town in Tongzi County. Photo by Cheng Yong
After a night of spring rain, Shan Ye, who had been sleeping for the whole winter, gradually stretched out. In the Dalou Mountain Range, spring is gradually sprouting in the mountains. On both sides of the road, there are peach blossoms, plum blossoms, camellia and rape blossoms … … The colors are intertwined with the green hills, just like a beautiful picture.
We went to shi niu cun, Dahe Town, Tongzi County, Guizhou Province, to visit the 80-year-old afforestation model Weifafu. Starting from the county seat, the sky is already dawn. The car passed through the thick morning fog, passed the famous 72-way turn, and entered shi niu cun eastward. More than 300,000 Chinese fir trees planted by the Weifafu family grew on Daping Mountain at an altitude of more than 1,000 meters. The sun gradually dispels the morning fog. In the distance, the vast forest of Daping Mountain is as clean and green as washed in the spring sunshine.
Along the mountain road, we walked into a green ocean. In the forest, the air is particularly fresh and cool, and the smell of flowers, trees and soil is everywhere. On a hillside, the old man in Weifafu was seen leaning over to pick up garbage in the forest with a bamboo basket on his back. When the old man saw us, he stopped what he was doing and came to shake hands with us with a smile. The old man is in high spirits and energetic, with a faint dew on his gray hair and grass clippings on his rubber shoes. His palm is wide and rough, with thick calluses.
The sun shines obliquely on the straight fir trees from high places through the dense forest. A few birds are jumping on clusters of new leaves, twittering the news of spring.
"You see, the tree, the bird came. When birds come, there are fewer insects. Bird droppings are rich in soil and trees are growing well. " The old man touched a stout fir tree and said happily.
"Did you plant all these trees?"
"More than that, there are more than 1,100 mu." The old man led us to a high place and pointed to the mountains in the distance: "These mountains are the farthest. If you walk, it will take a whole day to get there."
I looked up and couldn’t see the farthest hill. It’s hard to imagine how hard it took Wei Fafu’s family to plant small saplings into today’s towering trees by shouldering their backs and walking dozens of miles of mountain roads.
Speaking of afforestation, Wei Fafu has a lot to say. In 1950s and 1960s, due to excessive reclamation, the ecological environment of Daping Mountain was worrying. At that time, Wei Fafu often wandered alone on the mountain, looking at the barren mountain, listening to the mountain wind raging on the bare mountain, rolling up the dust all over the sky, and his heart seemed to be tightly pulled.
In the spring of 1985, Wei Fafu, then the production team leader, decided to return the sloping farmland to plant trees. His decision was supported by his family. He applied to the village collective for contracting, signed a contract for greening barren hills, and received seedlings subsidized by the county forestry bureau.
Since then, Wei Fafu’s family began to plant trees. In order to speed up the progress, Wei Fafu raced against time like clockwork. There is only one thought in his heart: "plant a variety of trees and turn the barren hills green as soon as possible."
"Every day, at dawn, our family set off, and everyone was carrying hundreds of pounds of saplings. Two red marks were pulled out of the shoulders, and water bubbles were ground in a few days. The slope is steep and the road is far away. We only eat two meals a day, and the time saved is used to hurry. At the end of the day, the coat is often soaked with sweat, the pants are covered with dew, and the whole body is wet. " The old man still remembers the scene at that time.
However, in the first spring, because of the serious soil erosion, low soil water storage capacity and lack of experience in planting trees, the planted trees only lived for a small part. Wei Fafu rallied and ran out of water, so they carried Mizukamiyama. He works in the forest for ten hours every day, and the action of planting trees is becoming more and more skillful. He scraped the soil with one hand and held the seedlings with the other, straightened the roots and carefully put the seedlings into the pit. Fir and pine seedlings are leafy and hard, and often prick their fingers, so he uses soft ant nest soil to stop bleeding and relieve pain. In summer and autumn, he went out early and went back to the forest to pull weeds. Even in the cold winter, he still patrols the mountain forest every now and then. After a year, he has worn out more than ten pairs of shoes. This year, the survival rate of saplings was as high as 90%.
Speaking of the trick of planting trees, the old man smiled: "Planting trees is the same as being a man. The roots of saplings should be buried deeply and kept straight, so that they can easily take root in the earth."
One minute, nine in charge. In order to afforest, he opened up a 10-mu nursery, and some seedlings were self-sufficient. He also set up a brick and tile factory to exchange all the bricks produced with villagers for working hours, so as to increase the labor input for planting trees. Winter goes and spring comes, year after year. Ten years later, with the efforts of Wei Fafu, the barren hills of Daping Mountain gradually became green, and the once-cut mountain spring water was restored, which solved the problem of drinking water and irrigation for local villagers.
Someone once offered Wei Fafu a high price to transfer the forest, but Wei Fafu refused. He said: "for so many years, I have done it for green mountains and green rivers. Trees are my children. Trees are more important than money." In thirty-seven years, under his careful care, the mountain forest has never suffered a mountain fire. Today, the old man still insists on going to the Woods every season. The time with the tree became an indispensable part of his life.
His contribution is gradually known to more people. He won back the honors of Guizhou moral model and Guizhou labor model. Now he still has a wish, and that is to join the Communist Party of China (CPC) as soon as possible. In May 2021, 79-year-old Wei Fafu submitted an application for joining the Party, which is the oldest applicant in shi niu cun’s history.
In the distance, the breeze is Xu Lai, and the green waves are rippling in the forest. Listen, the branches and leaves rustle in the wind, as if the castle peak is greeting the old man.