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Updated: 2013-11-07 07:25
( China Daily)

A clear glimpse of air

Comment on "Northeast remains shrouded in smog for third straight day" (China Daily, Oct 23)

I recall a year ago, descending in a plane into Beijing airport, or rather into a soup of mist so thick it left no evidence of our whereabouts - unless you had swallowed a GPS.

Ignorant of the reality I attributed it to a simple confluence of fog and night, even as I admired the astonishing sense of direction demonstrated by the driver of the shuttle. The darkness lifted, but the white, dull soup remained impenetrable. Surely, I pondered, this must be an exceptional condition.

I began to wonder if the Great Wall was possessed of adequate greatness to beat the silence clinging to it like a desperate lover. With the aid of inexplicable human senses my Chinese guide located the giant rocky rampart about an hour out of town. By then the cloak upon the world had lifted sufficiently to reveal the ancient stones where they have been for more than 2 millennia in rigorous formation. The world around became more evident in the remaining days, and I have subsequently learned how lucky I was to have such a comparatively large taste of clarity. And with the disappearance of this vast obscuring veil, through sheer luck, fortune blessed me with the opportunity to witness some of the magnificence and splendor found within the confines of this most extraordinary city.

Michael E. White, via e-mail

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(China Daily 11/07/2013 page9)

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