The Lost Horizon was the name of the title of James Hilton’s 1933 novel that told of a mystical place called Shangri-la, lost in the mountains of
2009: eighty-six years after the novel’s publication, I found my self lost in the tranquility of the mountains of a location named after that enchanted land.
Welcome to Potatso National Park of Shangri-la County,
It was a most interesting place. Looking out the window of the tour bus, I saw nothing out of the ordinary, but was told that the place was the most beautiful in the world. Imagine my disappointment, as I sat there and saw what I would normally see in the small woods by my home, tree after tree after tree. That is, until the bus stopped, and the small group of family friends we traveled with led my mother and I off the bus and into nature.
The sky was a soft pale grey, no birds sang, no wind whispered. Yet each blade of grass on the emerald plain waved gently, like a greeting, and the powerful mountain reflected in the still water along with its surroundings captured souls of those watching. The inland sea was like the “Mirror of the spirits” as a Chinese saying goes, a glassy surface that reflected the world of the spirits into the human subconscious. It was powerful, emotional, and yet soft and tranquil.
Along the path we walked, a small band of humans lost in a world of the spirits. The wind began to whisper, the water disturbed by its passing. Walking on the wooden bridge around the edge of the lake, we could hear the sound of brooks skipping to meet the sea.
Then, as the clouds began to part, sunlight rushed through the grey curtains to meet the world below it, and in that moment, everything seemed more alive. The breeze picked up speed, waking the trees whose leaves danced; the water no longer still, rippling gently towards the shores; birds began to sing their most unusual songs, and horses gathered by the brooks, dinking happily. As we looked around, grass became greener, the water more clear, flowers more vibrant, mountains more majestic, and trees more powerful, as if everything was toughed by the magic of life. What could have been more magnificent?
But like James Hilton, I see Shangri-la as a lost horizon. To visit such a wondrous place was a once in a life time chance, and though I would love to go again, it seems highly improbable. So you, reader, should visit and see for yourself what I saw, and share the journey’s magnificence with others and let them see as well.
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