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Heaven On Earth

I am pacing along a sidewalk beside a canal to relax from working on my homework. I usually come here in the evening to see the different kinds of vehicles go past on the road parallel to the canal and to let my thoughts wander as I walk the street. I halt and turn to look at the filthy and murky surface of the canal. The odor and splash of waste water from the drains provoke my concern. "Why is it so dirty today?" I asked myself. "Yesterday I came here, but the water was not as dirty as this." I am wondering about the problem, but deep in my mind, the answer is obvious. We who live here certainly know the answer. Money, economics, and technology are the primary causes of the changes. Townhouses, apartments, and factories were built here for personal reasons. The comfort and opulence of the modern life have attracted people to sell their farms and change their way of life.

When I was young, this area used to be my paradise. Several types of colorful butterflies, rare insects, and song birds spent their lives around the canal. They flew around and teased each other. It was a wonderful sight. Ducks and geese floated on the transparent surface. Along the canal, they dove to catch small fish and to eat water plants. I often came here to watch and observe the beautiful creatures. Especially, when the tide was coming in, my father and I would come here to trap fish. There were a lot of aquatic animals for us to catch for food. We used a seine to scoop up prawns and a net to catch huge fish. They are varied and fat. Before dusk, they all would rise to the surface of the water. I really liked this scene.

Besides supporting a diversity of life, the water had been used for agriculture on nearby farms. Farmers and gardeners pumped and reserved the water to plant on their farms. We all took the advantage of the canal.

Behind my house near the canal was our rice farm. I remember that after my family and I went to reap the rice harvests, sometimes I roved along the pebble road through the farm to watch the sunset. In the golden fields, the wind produced a rustle as the rice plants rushed against one another. The echo of a flock of crows in the twilight sky warned me to go home. It also tempted me to come closer. I walked on the small dike to absorb the atmosphere more completely. My footsteps frightened birds to fly away. As they rose in flight, many little dots appeared on the dim sky. Subsequently, the fading sunshine glowed on rice. It was like heaven on earth. All the scenes impressed me, and I loved this land.

Now everything I once saw here is just a dream. It can never be that way again. The farms were sold to developers to build residences and necessities of life expanded though the town. Consequently, the municipal government constructed cement banks and sidewalks parallel to the canal to decorate the view. The plan is beautiful, because they did it systematically. Both the sidewalks and cement banks are attractive. They look excellent but they have already profoundly harmed the wonderful environment. They have damaged the plants, animal habitats, and the balance of nature. A great deal of wild life has disappeared while the comfortable life has spread. New technology and convenient machines are normal for people now.

"Is it good?" I repeatedly asked myself when I learned that my parents wanted to sell our farm. They said that they wanted to sell it because of us. They wanted my brother and me to have a better life. I understood their reason; however I was concerned that many people would sell their farms like us, and everything would change. I was right. The farmers sold their lands to build new houses. Concrete and buildings have replaced my paradise already. It is true that our life has gotten better. We have a nice house, a car, and enough money to live comfortably. However, we have lost something from our life. The sounds and smells of nature, the beautiful views, the abundant life in the canal, and, especially, the atmosphere of golden rice farms are gone.