While studying the map of Xianning in these days, I suddenly discovered that Xianning is like a phoenix. Paizhou Town, the extending part of north Jiayu County is head of a phoenix, the other parts of Jiayu County and Chibi city its left wing, Xian'an district and Tongshan County its right wing, and Tongcheng and Chongyang County, its body and tail feathers. And the various background color of the map is just as "colorful feathers" depicted in Mountain and Sea Classics.
This is a flying phoenix. Its contour from wings to tail is lifelike, vivid and dynamic. What's more extraordinarily beautiful is phoenix's head with long slightly curved neck, sharp and smooth beak. It is subtle that this phoenix is slightly looking down while rising as if it were sentimentally attached to something.
Why is Xianning a phoenix instead of a bird, cuckoo? Because only Phoenix and Xianning have countless ties.
Phoenix, the divine bird and equally popular dragon were the two totems in ancient China, but Chu people have long worshiped phoenix more. It is a long tradition of Chu people's worshiping phoenix. Qu Yuan depicted the kingdom of heaven with" I order phoenix to fly day and night" in his work "Lisao". Phoenix Nirvana story originated from Qu Yuan's work "Heaven". Extensive archaeological data also proved that Chu people's worshiping of phoenix. Xianning is located in hinterland of Chu. It follows therefore that it is typical of Xianning people to worship phoenix, which is embodied in daily life and folk customs. Phoenix images can be often seen in embroidery, wood carving, stone carving and pasting pictures and many mountains are named after phoenix. Tongshan County was named after “Zhi” during Han Dynasty", which was also collative with the phoenix worship related. All in all, phoenix is Xianning 's Totem.
Phoenix is an auspicious symbol." Shuowen" recorded, “Phoenix sings and dances itself. Its appearance is an omen of peace in the whole world". It is said that when the ancient emperors, such as Shao Gao and King Chen of Zhou ascended their thrones, a phoenix flew down in celebration of enthronement. The two words of "Xianning" in Chinese literally mean that all people lead a peaceful life. Therefore, Xianning is the place where phoenix should appear, isn’t it?
Also judging from Xianning’s development history and current situation, Xianning is a golden phoenix. Not long ago, Xianning was a mountain area, reservoir area or impoverished area shut off from the outside world. Under the reform and opening up policy, this land has crackled with dynamics of profound changes. And especially in recent years, economic construction has accelerated at full speed and both urban and rural areas have changed rapidly. In other words, “a chit” who was raised in boudoir then has now become a “city girl" whose beauty and talent have been discovered.” Nowadays, Xianning's popularity and reputation are on the rise." Shannon all-chuen" brand has been started throughout the whole country and even the whole world. Is it not a" phoenix flying out of the mountains "?
Yes, Xianning is a golden phoenix flying out of mountains. As far as I am concerned, the significance of this discovery lies not only in match of shape between map of Xianning and phoenix but also in the spiritual aspect. In other words, what is most important is to make Xianning fly high like a phoenix and embed phoenix spirit in Xianning people’s deep heart. What on earth is the soul or spirit of phoenix?
Apart from beauty, luck and happiness, Phoenix also possesses optimism of singing and dancing alone, perseverance of flying vigorously and endlessly, courage of being born of fire, boldness of vision of howling sky, nobleness of perching only on parasol trees and confidence of ruling all birds. And Xianning people should possess these traits or spirits of phoenix.
I wish that I have found an important culture mark of Xianning and decoded Xianning people’s life. It is said that everybody has embodiment. I hope everyone in Xianning is a phoenix. And if it is true, we would not need to worry about Xianning’s rise.
Look at Xianning! This phoenix is flying straight up into the sky. I hear its silvery crying and its wings fluttering, fascinated by its awe-inspiring magic. I want to tell all the people of the world that my hometown is an auspicious bird! Oh! My Xianning, a flying phoenix!
(By Ke Yuming) (The author’s unity: Xianning Municipal Literature Association)