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Huang Xiaoyan
Phoebe WONG
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Literati
Writer

Text: Huang Xiaoyan

"Landscape photography is a kind of trek, a kind of chase, a unique impulse of mankind to migrate to the vision of beauty."

                    ——"Floating Light", page 101
               

"For butterflies, emergence may not be a beautiful process described by some writers, but a tense pause between life and death." 
                    ——"The Legend of the Lost Butterfly", page 152


"We can't count the number of raindrops in a rain. We can only intuitively face the unspeakable beauty, danger, anxiety, and destiny."

                    ——"Butterfly Path", page 244

1.
 

I was invited to participate in the art project of "Art Home" Tai Sang Wai because I wanted to try "natural writing". It took some time for me to confuse Nan Sang Wai and Tai Sang Wai. I went to the Tai Sang Wai fish pond a few times. I didn't feel deep and lacked natural education. How can I actually know how to write about nature? So I went back to the original point and first did a "Literature Lying Tour"-style reading of natural writing to understand "natural writing" and nature.

 

My first acquaintance with "natural writing" was from Wu Mingyi's book "Floating Light" (2014). Yes, it was after 2014. This is a long overdue first acquaintance. I came across and picked "Floating Light" at a bookstore in Taipei. Because it talks about photography, I like reading photography and writing. In addition to the author's confession as a photographer, this book also touches on and thinks about nature photography, a photography category that I don't know much about. In the chapter on discussion places and landscape photography, the author begins with a long description of the American Principality of Yosemite by American nature writer John Muir, and praises Muir for "using "text photography" to seduce our imagination. His notes are like Picture after picture, sometimes the landscape is taken, and sometimes the heart is taken." ("Floating Light", p. 91)

 

In fact, Wu Mingyi quoted Ian Jeffrey's "A Brief History of Photography" at the beginning of the book to explain his views on the intersection of photography and nature. He said that he was "fascinated" by two of Jeffrey's thoughts: "First, photography is a key technology to "discover" nature's ability to record images of itself; second, photos are like specimens collected in the wild. These two points unexpectedly completely define what the eco photographers in my mind are pursuing: they have discovered the wild and wild nature that light and cameras can capture all their lives, and they have been hunting light specimens all their lives. When they face their own photos, they will reminisce and relive the scene they had visited in person, and then they will find that they are captured by light and the camera. "("Floating Light", page 28, used in bold text)

 

What did you shoot, and who you are.

 

From "Floating Light", I revisited the story of the classic moon photo "Time of the Moon Rising" by the American master of landscape photography by Ansel Adams, Eadweard Muybrigde's "time series photography"-capturing the four when the horse is running. The moment he left the ground (Wu Buwu said, "Humans really care about the movements of animals so late"), the critical nature of the "cold noodles" landscape of New Topography photography; I also got to know George Shiras III's night animal photography and Stie Alfred Stieglitz repeatedly took photos of the meaning of floating clouds, the ins and outs of the invention of photomicrography, and even the colonial perspective of endangered or legendary animals (such as clouded leopards).

 

Wu Mingyi, who was born in literature, is a nature lover, art lover, and photography lover. He has various inherent contradictions about shooting nature. As mentioned above, he likes to see—and practice himself—to use photos instead of killing to obtain specimens of natural species; and “photos condense the nature that is in motion all the time” ("Floating Light", p. 15) so that nature can be Watching, being studied, and understood over and over. However, "When I was walking and taking pictures in the wild, I still believed that the creatures that weren’t collected before the photos are the ones that are truly free and unfettered, and that wildness is pure wildness. Life is like Shining and flowing like a galaxy, we cannot fully represent the river of life with a single image, nor can we use a photo to represent the clouded leopard." ("Floating Light", p. 65)

 

 

2.

 

Wu Mingyi's creative forms are diverse, from right handwritten novels, left handwritten essays, and research articles-he is not only a natural writer, but also a researcher of natural writing, studying the development and genealogy of modern natural writing in Taiwan. I went to get to know "Natural Writing" and read several of his books: "Butterfly Road" (2010[2003]), "The Story of the Lost Butterfly" (2000), "Home Is So Close to the Water" (2007), "Taiwan Modern" Exploration of Natural Writing, 1980-2002" (edition) and "Man with Compound Eyes" (2011), "Liberation of Nature by Writing" series, etc.

 

What is "natural writing"? "Natural writing" is a type of writing that takes nature as the main body. "Natural writing" emphasizes "natural experience" (in Chen Jian's words), and the author must leave to observe and interact naturally. Wu Mingyi regards "natural writing" as a kind of "intellectual writing", which combines traditional natural history, natural science knowledge, ethical moral introspection, literary lyricism, and aesthetic touch. (See: "Liberation of Nature by Writing" Book 1, pages 9, 10) Wu Mingyi is a literary background and emphasizes the literary texture of writing. The above statement has pointed to the natural writing of the literary category (ie, "natural writing" in the narrow sense." Wu so Summarize the chemical role of literary nature in writing nature: "Nature writing is a type of writing that authors must devote themselves to nature for a long time. The author transforms the acquired knowledge genealogy into a literary "viewing angle", and environmental ethics is in the writing. Perhaps it becomes a more latent texture that can make the literary meaning more richly presented, and attract readers into the natural world." ("Taiwan Natural Writing Selection", p.294)

 

 

 

 

 

[Picture 1: What is "natural writing"? ]

 

3.

 

Some are afraid of Xunzhu, some are afraid of mice, I am afraid of caterpillars, even if they just glance at them from the corner of their eyes, they are all hairy. There have been such nightmares in the nightmare: in the court, there are caterpillars crawling, and there are countless piles of black and endless sensation. Every time I mentioned this dream, I always shook my head subconsciously so that the image would not be visible in my brain. It's probably because of the caterpillar. I am indifferent to the butterflies that others think are beautiful, hopelessly indifferent. Knowing that "The Mystery of Butterfly" (2000) and "Butterfly Road" (2003) are "the necessary way to understand Taiwan's natural writing" (Liu Kexiang), it seems that Wu's writing butterfly can no longer be bypassed.

 

I read "Butterfly Dao" first, and then "Butterfly History". The truth is, I wanted to choose one of the two, but the title of "Butterfly Road" is more intellectual, which suits my liking. It turns out that in addition to revealing Wu Mingyi’s "fascination" with the "mysterious" butterfly, "Midie" is also an ecological term. Wu explained that it is "the original infertility in a certain area caused by migration or natural factors (such as typhoons)." Butterflies in this area, these newly-introduced butterflies, are called fascinated butterflies. [...] The wars, see-saws, and struggles of fascinated butterflies with native species in this land often show me the patterns and processes of human races getting along." ("The Mystery of the Butterfly", pp. 171-72)

 

Wu Mingyi feels that butterflies are full of mystery, and their "wings are incredibly beautiful." Looking at them, they will be very excited. ("Mi Die Zhi", page 160) Because the wings of butterflies are covered with extremely fine scales, they belong to the "Lepidoptera" in taxonomy. "The colors on the butterfly wings are adjusted by "flavonoids", [...] But the butterfly scales do not have a chemical color, but instead reflect light to show a physical color. "("Butterfly Road", p. 42) I understand the reason for Wu's excitement. How beautiful are butterfly wings? The little gray butterfly that sounds ordinary, Wu Jian's butterfly wings, thinks of art genres, and feels very kind to people in the art circle like me. "Taiwan has more than one hundred species of small lycaenidae, and each of its ventral wings is a unique picture: the rippled small lycaenidae has a series of white waves on a light brown background. It is Ma Yuan's "Twelve Waters". The eloquence of the middle line; the green small ash disc of Fuzi's boldly splashing blue, green and red, is a arrogant brutalist; the small gray butterfly of the chess stone uses a spectroscopic stippling, and the sun and the eyes are combined when flying, while the Okinawa small gray The disc is like the overturned oil paint of an innocent child, and a freehand landscape flowing out.” ("The Legend of a Butterfly", p.138) Wings the size of a postage stamp are still natural fine paintings!

 

Reading "Butterfly Dao" and "Butterfly History", I uncovered the pages tremblingly, always afraid that I would see pictures of butterfly larvae or pupation. (Yes! I can't overcome my fear, my sight is like a marble landing and bounces away quickly!) But somehow, Wu described a scene of the life and death of a butterfly feathering, and I read it again and again. "For butterflies, emergence may not be a beautiful process described by some writers, but a tense pause between life and death. When the butterfly pupas out, grabs the abandoned body, and climbs to a waiting angle, the time is right. For them who are unable to fly, it is a condensed bead of amber. They cannot admire, covet, change and inquire from the outside world, but quietly wait for the blood to be injected into the wing veins and slowly harden. If they are lucky, the time will be two or three. Ten minutes later, they will re-flow and lead their noisy new life into the sky. If you are lucky." Butterflies that fail to emerge will become "winged ascetics," and they can only crawl throughout their lives until they are discovered by the predator. After all, for the butterfly, “flying is the realization of life.” (The Legend of the Misty Butterfly, pp. 152, 154) No wonder when Wu found a butterfly with different wings in front of his house, he longed for her to be able to fly: "A group of ants are flying with her wingless corpse against the wall." ("The Mystery of the Butterfly", p. 150)

 

Comparing the shortness and the length of the dazzling horn and the amber as a metaphor for time, I estimate how soft Wu's heart is.

 

 

4.

 

My bed is by the window, next to the top of the tree. When the birds wake up at the top of the tree at dawn, they will hum and break the silence. After ten or twenty minutes, it gradually calmed down, and they flew away one by one. Their wake-up ceremony made me hear dawn. My natural nurturing and imagination are poor. I don’t know what kind of tree the tree next to the house is, and what kind of bird the bird is. I am insensitive to sound—pitch—it can be said that my voice is not open.

 

"The term "silent night" is actually a warning sign of the loss of hearing-impaired creatures." For people who are often exposed to nature, "the world has never been quiet." ("Butterfly Road", p. 58) Reading what Wu Mingyi said, I was sweating while thinking of the American video artist Bill Viola who explained that sound is in his videos. The importance of. He said that every place has its own sound, which is the sum of the sounds of various things, which Viola calls the "under-sound" ("under-sound"). When people settle down, they can gradually hear the "under-sound". . He filmed a place, and the video was often cut according to the bottom sound there. ( https://vimeo.com/64302190 )

Wu Mingyi uses his intuition to listen carefully to the tweets of natural species, and he uses paragraphs of text and soundscapes to induce readers to open up their senses and voices.

 

"Listening to birdsong should be a kind of communication, a kind of imagination, so I suggest that you use intuition recognition (that is, don't force those sounds into words), or use whistles to imitate and have a memorable effect." ("Home Lishui" "The Edge is So Close", p. 234) For example, Wu said, "To me, the red-billed black bulbul's call is like a drop of water thrown from the air, while the gray-headed wren's voice is like a soft thread. Shuttle between the grass." ("Home Is So Close to the Water", p. 234) Wu Geng gradually heard that the red-billed black bulbul's solo "meow sound" is "a tune that remembers love and craves for a smile." , In my ears, "The voice is sticky and sweet like honey, and a bit moist." ("Butterfly Road", p. 139-40)
 

"Regarding the Taipei tree frog, I simply and abstractly said that it was the sound of "aging autumn". That sound wave would touch the sad synapses in your brain, change neurotransmitters, and stimulate the glands." ("Butterfly Path", p. 59) As for the sound of the frogs, Wu Mingyi "the dark universe in front of him suddenly exploded, and the fine audio needles over 500 Hz were shot into the skin and pierced the heart along the veins." And a group of frogs became "hundreds." A cosmic explosion traveled through light years and passed into the eardrum. The air was trembling, my blood was trembling, the ground was trembling, and it was trembling in summer." ("Butterfly Road", pages 145-46)

 

 

5.

 

Wu Mingyi said that he regarded butterflies as a friend, "For me, the enigmatic charm of butterflies lies in the fact that he is a changeable life, not a creature. I have been looking for a way to communicate with them." Journal, p. 172) Wu observes and writes about butterflies, but he does not study butterflies (won't call himself a researcher). He said that what he did was to use literary creations to present "the ideas, feelings and thoughts of getting to know another kind of life." This kind of life gave me a deep tremor, inspiration and lightness to face life when I turned my head back to face "people." (Ibid., p. 173)

Wu's attitude, he said, is close to "Weak Anthropocentrism" (Weak Anthropocentrism). "Mild anthropocentrism" was proposed by environmental ethics scholar Bryan G. Norton. He believes that, in contrast to "strong anthropocentrism, which considers humans as the core of all interests, it judges things through a felt preference." Value, moderate anthropocentrism relies on "a complete world view, treating nature with a considered preference." ("The Mystery of the Butterfly", pp. 170-71). In the in-depth prose, every twist and turn, every turning point ushered in thinking about environmental ethics and ecological care:

 

"I often think that when we criticize the thin-winged longhorn beetle that strips citrus trees as a pest, we seem to regard ourselves as the creator. It seems that God did not only create citrus trees for mankind. Longhorn beetles and citrus duck butterflies, Isn’t it the people of God? The trees that were raised for the production of lush citrus for people would gradually lose their pride in fighting against natural enemies in the jungle? They were smeared with poison, so they had to stand alone and again I can’t feel the joy of passing on the completion of life when a greedy white-eye drops their heirs on the soil.” ("The Mystery of the Butterfly", pp. 91-92)

 

"It is difficult for us to count how many raindrops have fallen in a rain. We can only intuitively face the unspeakable beauty, danger, anxiety, and destiny." (Butterfly Road, p. 244)
 

"For living things, there is no distinction between native species and exotic species, only the difference between ecological location competitors or food sources. Once they appear in the same environment due to a certain causal arrangement, only "survival" is the only goal. Every creature in and around the lake is fighting for survival. Every day, some lives die and some places are born." ("Home Is So Close to the Water", p. 219)

 

"The intention to describe the sound of frogs can sometimes be regarded as a training of imagination and language ability. It is also a way to connect the world of frogs with one's own world. It will produce a sense of intimacy that we live on the same planet together." ( "Butterfly Path", p. 59)

 

"In the cold photography, the photographer seems to have eliminated his will, but the will of the landscape itself will appear from this, and it will impact the viewer. Through the camera, human beings actually know exactly what stupid and offensive things they have done. "("Floating Light", p. 105)

 

 

6.

 

While eager to try the fashionable "natural writing", Shen Qing reined in the precipice. I sometimes go hiking in the mountains, but when I walk in nature, I don’t care about nature. When I walk on the top of the mountain, I always keep my head down, looking at nature like a piece of background, lacking the desire and motivation to observe and understand nature carefully.

 

I have read "Butterfly Road" and "Butterfly History", and I have gained more knowledge and understanding, which loosened my indifference to butterflies? I have no idea. But I know that at the time of writing this article, we were deeply caught in the ridiculous years of COVID-19 ravaging the world and queuing to buy masks in the middle of the night. It is not only a superficial inspection, but also an offense to the inspection. I also know that to know or experience nature is to practice and open up the senses, and to know second-hand nature through literary imagination. When writing the preface for "Butterfly Dao", Liu Kexiang reminded readers profoundly, "If it is purely a literary tour in a book room, I am afraid it will be difficult to truly go deep and understand the true meaning of the dialogue between natural writing and life." (page 26) ) I prefer trees. If I leave nature, I will start from getting to know trees and plants.

 

I checked, and next to my window is a small-leaved banyan that has grown into a new year.

 

 

March 2020

 

 

 

Refer to the bibliography:

Wu Mingyi, "The Legend of the Fan Butterfly". Taipei: Ryefield Publishing, 2000.

Wu Mingyi, "Butterfly Road." Taipei: Eryu Cultural Enterprise Co., Ltd., 2010 (2003).

Wu Mingyi, "Home Is So Close to the Water". Taipei: Eryu Cultural Enterprise Co., Ltd., 2007.

Wu Mingyi, "Floating Light". Taipei: New Classic Graphic Communication Co., Ltd., 2014.

Wu Mingyi, "Exploration of Modern Natural Writing in Taiwan, 1980-2002" (Book 1 of Freeing Nature by Writing). New Taipei: Summer Publication, 2012.

Wu Mingyi, "Author's Theory of Modern Nature Writing in Taiwan, 1980-2002" (Liberating Nature by Writing Book 2). New Taipei: Summer Publication, 2012.

Wu Mingyi, "The Man with Compound Eyes." Taipei: Summer Publishing House, 2011.

Editor-in-Chief Wu Mingyi, "Taiwan Natural Writing Selection". Taipei: New Classic Graphic Communication Co., Ltd., 2012 (2003).

"A Brief Reading of Wu Mingyi's Natural Writing Occasionally"

Another topic: The natural confession of a literary wanderer