A red-orange tree in Jiangnan remains green through the winter, not because of the warm weather but thanks to its strong nature to endure the cold. Its red fruits are also valuable enough to be served to important guests. However, sending these to them is impossible due to a rough road ahead blocked by mountains and rivers. Whether the red oranges will be valued or not depends entirely on their fate. Such is like an endlessly circulating order of nature, it cannot be forced. As an orange tree holds the natural strength to endure the cold, a poet promises to himself that he will go with the flow while remaining loyal.
This is a poem written by Zhang Jiuling who was once considered a prominent premier during the rule of Emperor Xuanzong of Tang after he was relegated to Jiangnan. The poet accepted the “blocked and remote” relations between the emperor and himself as a fate while keeping his sincere heart for the honorable guest like a red-orange. Don’t focus too much on glorious-looking peach or plum trees. An orange tree can provide just as much flavor and scent, as well as cool shade.