The Starbridge Over China And Other Essays

Today we welcome a new author of our blog, @elainej (Elaine Jiang,蒋绎藟) - meet Elaine!

starting with her short essays...and who knows what comes next!

By Elaine Jiang,蒋绎藟

Table of Contents

 Star Bridge

Content 6+ I sit in front of my bedroom window and watch the sky as if I half-expected it to watch me back. Darkness has colored the city and there’s no star above at all, not one. But in my imagination, a long and slim star bridge appears across the horizon. Suddenly, I seem to go back to that summer when we sat under the Milky Way and softly nodded our little Chinese fans at this mess of light as if inviting it to come and play with us…

As the coach bumped along the mud road, my cousin Alisa and I arrived at my gran’s hometown. Gran was waving at us in the middle of the garden with a wide grin on her face. Alisa and I jumped off the coach and chased the charmingly naïve white geese and waddling ducks. We raced along the lawn and played hide-and-seek in the corn field. In the reed marshes, Alisa ran after a vibrant butterfly and I gazed at the mantis which waved its “knives” on the grass. We picked a cicada slough and took it to Gran cheerfully. Gran just nodded and smiled at us, and said once after once (‘over and over’, but better in Chinese): “Be careful, be careful...”

After dinner, Gran took a fan and sat on the stairs outside the front door. We followed and sat beside her. Gran raised up her head and admired the dark sky. Her wrinkles gathered to the end of her eyes and a smile climbed up her plump face. She waved the fan softly and scattered away the flies under the dim moonlight. I turned to look into the sky. Millions of twinkling stars gathered and created a sparkling bridge over the universe – it was the Milky Way!  I stared at the distant lights in great surprise with the singing of cicadas in my ears, and Gran was telling the old story at a slow pace.

 “Each year, the couple which lives separately will have the chance to meet on this ‘bridge’...” This old Chinese tale came to life in her melodic old voice.

 The star bridge set over the sky, and imprinted itself in our eyes. And we are exactly the ones who meet on the bridge! In our daily lives, people always meet and leave in a hurry – even for family members. How often can we stay together and enjoy the night view?

In that silent night, we sat closely to each other and listened to Gran. It was deep night, Alisa had fallen asleep with her head on Gran’s shoulder, while the fan in Gran’s hand was still waving…


Content 6+ “When the water vapor in the air freezes into small water droplets, they hang in the air and form fog.” My physics teacher told me so. Immediately, I imagined the feeling of being surrounded by trillions of water droplets – damp, blurry, and confining – they seemed to wrap me up in a cold cocoon from which I could not break out.

Yeah, fog always makes me unhappy, because a foggy day means no sunshine, no blue sky and no far away skyscrapers in my sight. The only things left are the oppressive odor of the wet roads and the metallic braying from the traffic jams or the sudden clash of accidents caused by these floating little liquid blindfolds. However, the weather changes its clothes as it wishes with no care as to whether or not I approve of its fashions.

Foggy days arrive between the end of autumn and the beginning of winter. Sure enough, last Tuesday morning I looked out the window and saw that a blanket of fog was waiting, hovering over the Beijing streets. With no other choice, I threw my backpack in the basket of my bike and rode to school with heavy legs.

It was difficult to see things, so I opened my sleepy eyes as wide as I could. The street was full of cars and bikes as usual. The blaring of horns and shouts from frustrated drivers assaulted my ears. Dim street lamps became like egg yolks and lit up a small area beneath them. The barking of dogs erupted in the yards beside the street. Maybe they were puzzled and wondering why they couldn’t see anything far in the early morning; maybe they imagined every vague movement behind the gray curtain as an intruder. 

While riding past a crossroad, I heard a bell ringing behind me and soon a bike overtook me and disappeared a second later. Two beams of car lights appeared, announced rudely by loud horns, and quickly turned left, then disappeared as well. My uniform dampened against my skin; a chilly breeze made me tremble. 

Luckily, my school wasn’t far and the outline of its white buildings severed the fog and rapidly took shape. I sped to the gate and rubbed my prickly, half-numb hands as I walked inside. The fog did not relent, but grew heavier, and our headteacher told us there wouldn’t be PE class that day. I turned to look out of the windows. It was going to rain, I guessed. Maybe a hard rain would evaporate the dense mist.

As I had thought it might, the torrents poured down before noon. Listening as the rat-a-tat-tat of the drops gradually slackened but still steadily pattered the ground and roof, my mood improved without my knowing, as if I were a slender human barrel gradually filling with apples. Gaily, I sauntered on the lawn with an umbrella and let the wet soil stick to my shoes. I raised up my head and peered up at the gray-blue sky.

 Maybe the sky also has bad moods sometimes, I concluded. So, it covers itself with deep fog and, after sulking for a while, begins to cry, and its tears turn into heavy rain. The rain washes off the bad moods and unhappy thoughts, and finally the sun will come out some day.


Content 6+ A "beam of light" is often used to describe something hopeful or captivating. Once, my Chinese teacher asked the whole class to write an essay and the topic was “A beam of light in my life”. Although this lesson took place several months ago, when I see this topic again, dozens of thoughts suddenly jump into my head.

I’m fond of jogging on the track after school. At four to five o’clock, the orange but still shiny sunlight sinks through the classroom building’s windows and lazily lies among the gleaming green tree leaves. The leaves blink their “golden eyes” and dance under the shower of the sunset and breeze. The football field is like a grassy blanket filled with jewels and fallen stars. Teens hop about and race on the field with joy and youth on their faces. I raise my head, glancing at the waving trees and clear blue sky. Even the only floating cloud is colored by the sunshine.

I jump up and speed on the red tracks, wishing to hug every inch of the bouncing light. When the warmth arrives at my arms and face, I get a feeling of being aided by invisible arms which push me forward and give me energy to run faster

But don’t forget, light doesn’t only exist during the day time. When the sun has gone to visit the other side of the Earth, darkness soon owns the night. I still remember an experience of seeing a group of fireflies. They were having an adventure in the bushes, the woods, and on the lawn. These little creatures opened their wings wide and turned on their “lamps” in the deep night. They flew beside the path like floating candles. The moon was big and bright that night, so much so that I was briefly blinded by its aura, but then I saw the fireflies all around me, and for a moment it seemed that the stars themselves had fallen from the sky and assumed the shape of this wild flock of lightning bugs. 

Was that what they were? Had they become stars now forming constellations around my shoes and knees, joining in a ball of fallen leaves and soft wind? What about me? I was shocked by the glorious scene. Staring with my eyes widely open, I wished to remember all of these in front of me and let this beam of sparkling light live on and on in the widening storehouse of my mind

The first shine announces the end of the darkness and the beginning of a new period. Sometimes, just a simple glance may turn the following days into a beacon-led, astonishing time.

 “Leave a window open so that the first beam of light can arrive at your area,” the teacher told us, and this is exactly what I believe.

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