The huyang poplar forest near the desert highway at Luntai is my favorite place to visit. The Tarim Basin contains the world's largest area of natural huyang poplar forest and this roadside forest of over 2,700 hectares is only a tiny part of the whole. The forest grows along the meandering course of the silt-laden Tarim River, and stretches to the remote horizon. There is a beautiful small 1ake in the forest that attracts swans and other precious waterfowl. Hares and corsac foxes often haunt the depths of the dense woods.
In Uygur its name means "the most beautiful tree." It is also acclaimed as the "desert hero" for its indomitable life force and amazing ability to put up with drought, sandstorms, and saline and alkali soils.
The life of desert plants, including the poplars. Chinese tamarisks, sacsaouls and oleasters, is a revelation about life and death, guarding the desolate desert and surviving Desperate situations.
When the scorching summer passes and cool breezes come,the forest begins to bestir itself,get excited,and turn golden almost overnight.
The huyang poplar forest has always been beyond human imagination. Botanists concentrate on their indomitable survival qualities-enduring droughts sandstorms,and saline and alkali soils. Folk have made heroes of them for their ability to grow erect for a thousand years, live for a thousand years after falling,and lie and remain undecayed after death for another thousand years.
But without its moment of glory,three thousand years would be meaningless,just an endless torment,a waste of time and energy. Without one magnificent moment its terrible thirst. hideous appearance, cracked bark, decay, despairing moans and silent struggle,its bitter saltiness and strange "teardrops" secreted via its trunk,would be nothing but hopeless bleakness.
So, the tree goes all out to achieve the pinnacle of brilliance. The blazing magnificent,resplendent beauty of the huyang poplar forest in autumn can compare with an epic by Homer,a Wagnerian opera or a Beethoven symphony.Its passionate living of life as gloriously and fully as possible before dying is the best tribute to time.