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励志短文:曼德拉的菜园

美文

1977年初,当局结束了我们的野外体力劳动,安排我在监狱院内做一些事,所以我们能够自己安排时间。结束体力劳动真是一种解放。我于是可以终日看看书,写写信,与志同道合者探讨问题,或者准备一些法律文件。在罗本岛上的这段清闲时光还让我发展了两大业余嗜好:种菜和打网球。
   要想度过狱中艰难的时日,你得想方设法为每天的生活寻找些许慰藉。洗洗衣服,使之洁净如新;打扫打扫门厅走廊,使之一尘不染;收拾收拾房间,使狭窄的牢房尽可能宽敞等等。正如一个人可以在监狱外面从事他所引以为荣的事情一样,监狱里的人同样可以做到。
   在被安置到罗本岛之初,我就要求当局允许我在狱中的院落里开辟一方菜园,当局对此多年来一直拒绝,也不说明原委。但是最终,当局做出了让步。我们得以在监狱大院靠墙处开垦了一片狭长的菜园。
   监狱的大院建在垃圾堆上,土质干燥坚硬,乱石丛生。为了开垦出菜园,给作物腾出生长的空间,我搬走了许许多多大石块。那段时间里,我的空闲时间都用来挖掘那块荒地,为此,一些朋友戏谑我打心眼里就想做一名矿工。
   当局给我提供了种子。我首先种了西红柿,辣椒和洋葱,这些都是耐贫瘠且无需精心照料的蔬菜。刚开始收获很少,但不久就有了改善。当局没有后悔允许我种菜,因为菜园一开始丰收时,我便经常给监管人员提供一些最好的西红柿和洋葱。
   我一直对园艺情有独钟,但是直到我被关押之后,才有机会照料自己的菜园。早在福特哈尔上大学时,我就在一位教授的菜园里种过菜,这也是学校对体力劳动要求的一部分。辛苦的脑力劳动之后,我就到菜园里去,沉浸在与土地的亲密接触中,自得其乐。可是当我到约翰内斯堡学习和工作之后,就没有时间也没有地方开垦菜园了。
   我开始订阅有关种菜的书籍,学习各种耕作的技术,了解各类肥料的使用方法。我这里没有书中提到的植物生长所需的肥料,但是我可以反复试验着学习。有一次,我尝试着种花生,用了不同的土壤和肥料,但最终放弃了。这次失败是我少数失败中的一次。
   菜园是我在狱中少有的能自主管理的事情。播下种子,观察生长,悉心照料,然后收获,这给我带来了单纯但却持久的欢乐。成为这一方天地的主人的感觉让我体会到了一丝自由的滋味。
   从某种意义上说,我认为耕作菜园隐含了生活的某些方面的深刻道理。领导者们必须认真照料自己的菜园;要播种,观察,耕耘,然后才能收获。领导者们必须像园丁一样对他们耕耘的事业负责。他们必须悉心呵护他们的工作,全力击退敌人,挽救能够争取的一切,努力清除影响成功的一切障碍。
   我曾给温妮写了两封信描述一株极其漂亮的西红柿。告诉她我是如何把它从一粒娇嫩的种子抚育成一株健壮的植物,并结出深红色的果实的。可是由于某些失误或者是缺少对它的照料,这株西红柿逐渐开始枯萎和凋零,我虽尽全力也没有让它恢复生机。当它最终死掉的时候,我把它从地里拔出来,洗净其根,将其埋在菜园的一角。
   我以很大的篇幅将这个小故事讲述给了温妮。我不知道她从中读出了什么,但写这封信的时候,我的心情是很复杂的。我不想让我们的友谊如同那株西红柿,然而我却无力维系好生活中许多最重要的关系。一个人有时无论怎样努力,都无法挽留那些注定要远去的东西。 

【英文原文

 

 Mandela's Garden

In early 1977, the authorities announced the end of manual labor and arranged some type of work for us to do in the courtyard, so we could spend our days in our section. The end of manual labor was liberating. I could now spend the day reading, writing letters, discussing issues with my comrades, or preparing legal documents. The free time also allowed me to pursue what became two of my favorite hobbies on Robben Island: gardening and tennis.

To survive in prison, one must develop ways to take satisfaction in one's daily life. One can feel fulfilled by washing one's clothes so that they are particularly clean, by sweeping a hallway so that it is empty of dust, by organizing one's cell to save as much space as possible. Just as one takes pride in important tasks outside of prison, one can find the same pride in doing small things inside prison.

Almost from the beginning of my sentence on Robben Island, I asked the authorities for permission to start a garden in the courtyard. For years, they refused without offering a reason. But eventually they gave in, and we were able to cut out a small garden on a narrow patch of earth against the far wall.

The soil in the courtyard was dry and rocky. The courtyard had been constructed over the garage dump, and in order to start my garden, I had to remove a great many rocks to allow the plants room to grow. At the time, some of my comrades joked that I was a miner at heart, for I spent my days in a wasteland and my free time digging in the courtyard.

The authorities supplied me with seeds. I at first planted tomatoes, chilies, and onions ?hardy plants that did not require rich earth or constant care. The early harvests were poor, but they soon improved. The authorities did not regret giving permission, for once the garden began to flourish, I often provided the wardens with some of my best tomatoes and onions.

While I have always enjoyed gardening, it was not until I was behind bars that I was able to tend my own garden. My first experience in the garden was at Fort Hare, as part of university's manual labor requirement, I worked in one of my professors' garden and enjoyed the contact with the soil as an alternative to my intellectual labors. Once I was in Johannesburg studying and then working, I had neither the time nor the space to start a garden.

I began to order books on gardening. I studied different gardening techniques and types of fertilizers. I did not have many of the materials that the books discussed, but I learned through trial and error. For a time, I attempted to grow peanuts, and used different soils and fertilizers, but finally I gave up. It was one of my few failures.

A garden was one of the few things in prison that one could control. To plant a seed, watch it grow, to tend it and harvest it, offered a simple but enduring satisfaction. The sense of being the owner of the small patch of earth offered a small taste of freedom.

In some ways I saw the garden as a metaphor for certain aspects of my life. Leaders must also look after their gardens; they, too, plant seeds, and then watch, cultivate, and harvest results. Like gardeners, leaders must take responsibility for what they cultivate; they must mind their work, try to drive back enemies, save what can be saved, and eliminate what can not succeed.

I wrote Winnie two letters about a particularly beautiful tomato plant, how I made it grow from a tender seedling to a strong plant that produced deep red fruit. But then, either through some mistake or lack of care, the plant began to wither and decline, and nothing I did would bring it back to health. When it finally died, I removed the roots from the soil, washed them, and buried them in a corner of the garden.

I told her this small story at great length. I don't know what she read into that letter, but when I wrote it I had a mixture of feelings: I did not want our relationship to go the way of that plant, and yet I felt that I had been unable to nourish many of the most important relationships in my life. Sometimes there is nothing one can do to save something that must die.




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« 滕刚微型小说《嫖娼事件》英文励志短文《曼德拉的菜园》赏析 »
  • 英文励志短文《曼德拉的菜园》赏析(引用)
  • 猎奇博客
  • Mandela's Garden曼德拉的菜园In early 1977, the authorities announced the end of manual labor and arranged some type of work for us to do in the courtyard, so we could spend our days in our section. The end of manual labor was liberating. I
  • 2009/11/6 8:28:21

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