With a “Click!”, the camera recorded the image of three rivers merging to form one river. I was especially impressed by the utter serene solitude in the woods, the fresh, biting air, and the sureness with which the waters merged to form one river. I could only hope that the area would not be destroyed by the actions of human beings in the years to come, making the scenery a thing of the past that could only be remembered through a few photos such as mine.
Before visiting the three merging rivers, my opinion was that progress necessitated certain sacrifices; damming rivers alters the landscape and kills off many species, but its prospective benefits, including greater access to electricity and extensive economic development, outweighs the scenic damages. However, all that changed when I saw the rivers.
As I entered the clearing, I was hushed by the omnipresent silence in the area; I felt as though I was an intruder in this quiet environment. The only noises were the sounds of birds singing volubly into the sky, with nothing to end their song, and the backdrop of the rushing rivers. The rivers moved on, heedless of my presence; they were a constant in life, refusing to desist despite the numerous obstacles in their path. I felt the inevitability of the amalgamation of the three rivers, and I thought about the people before me who had stood in the exact same spot, staring at the rivers.
As a sudden peacefulness descended upon me, I realized that unlike those before me, I could preserve this image using my camera. However, even as I took my picture, I knew that I could never recapture the same atmosphere, that serene, undisturbed, and introspective ambience. Were this land to be deforested for construction purposes and the rivers dammed to create scenic lakes for real estate, future generations couldn’t enjoy the same opportunity to observe the rivers.
I now believe that progress is necessary and positive as long as it does not destroy the rivers. On that fateful day, I discovered that the rivers show Man that he must persist despite all obstacles. I have a responsibility to the rivers because they’ve created the central precept in my life: “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again”. The rivers have survived various natural calamities such as flooding and drought, and still continue to flow along their path for such a long time. Despite all my failures, I only need to remember the unceasing movement of the rivers to rise from the ashes like a phoenix.
Moreover, these rivers have been unaltered for time immemorial, preserved for me by my forefathers. I must help protect them so that my forefathers’ efforts haven’t been in vain and that future generations won’t miss out on the opportunity to learn from the rivers. Progress is necessary, but not at the cost of nature. The rivers must be preserved.
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