Posted on 3/11/2010, worst ice frost disaster since 1943, estimated lost 2 billion RMB.
Foot long ice crystals
I had experienced this 15 years ago in a cold winter of Illiniois. Never in my imagination to see this in Chao Zhou which is in a MUCH warmer climate.
Earth weather has been temperamental for the last few years, it's been coughing up a few symptoms in this new millennium. Tsunamis, earthquakes, warm weather then cold weather, freezing Springs caused failing crops. In 2007, China experienced the worst freezing temperatures across a large tea growing regions up north extending to the south. This year, it has come back, reaching far down south. Phoenix Mountains got the hit this year. Temperature reaching 5 Celsius degrees below freezing consecutively for several days. Ice blocks are as thick as a foot. The entire new growth are wiped out from 500 meters above sea level. 1/5 of the entire growing region is wiped out with 99% casualty. Other areas are affected with 30 to 50% casualty. Very few late sprouting varietals have a chance to survive and produce in later months, but there is no guarantee. Low altitude commercial grade teas are commanding 50% higher price than last year at this point. There will be VERY few high mountain old single bush teas this year, 1%!!! *sigh*
Other years of this time around, the mountain is covered with jade green leaves, vital and tender, so were the spirits of the farmers. This year, the mountain is covered with brown wilted young leaves limping over balding branches, much like the after math of a battle field. Lifeless and messy.
In the last few days, I have experienced and seen many vallies in life. Perspective has changed, fog is drifting away, I am able to perceive with a less tainted mind. What is important in life, what is essential in life, these are questions bubble in mind. When disasters strike and threaten lives, others whining about what color wall paints to pick and choose is the last thing I want to discuss. When families have to worry about how to put food on the table for the next year to come, others complaining about petty office politic at the comfort of a corporate shield is not something I find appropriate. This is the matter of how you circle your sky I suppose. Looking from afar, or looking from the bottom of a well. Most people choose to be in their own well.
When I first heard of the news, the initial panic was will I have enough supply for the year? Selfish bottom of the well mind set. Then my consciousness begin to feel for the people whom farm those lands, what will happen to those families which waited a whole year for the Spring, then hopes were shattered over night. My own concern seems so petty compare to the livelihood of the tea farmers and local tea merchants whom make a living solely base on this piece of land. I am not sure what I can do. Should I take a journey to Chao Zhou, lend a hand helpful or not, or just let time go by, let nature take care of its own course? What is the best I can do? What can I do if I were there physically?