Saturday, June 02, 2007

Seasons in Full

4 pm. She decided to go out for a walk. Leaning against the bathroom doorframe right next to the main entrance to the apartment, she struggled with the left shoelace while recalling the brief conversation that she'd just had with a girlfriend earlier.

"It's going to hit the 90's tomorrow!" J screamed, on the other side of the phone. "Summer has finally come!", the scream continued, followed by a long list of things planned out for the summer.

"Too bad that you aren't going to be here with us," J said. "For once you should at least spend the summer here on the east coast. It's quite pleasant in summertime, especially when everyone seems so much merrier and the air is just filled with this exuberating sense of lightness and frolicking feel."

Around the corner she noticed the swaying of a red-blue banner printed with a large, "Q," on top. "Must be one of the new boutiques opened in the area," she thought, letting her curiosity taking her across the street towards that direction.

As it turned out, it wasn't another clothing boutiques but a small restaurant cafe tugged in between two brownstone buildings. And not a trace of customers or hostesses or waiters inside. The door shut tightly, on which a hand-written sign read: "Coming Soon on June 17th".

Ah, so one of the neighborhood festivities that she is going to miss, again, she thought to herself.

Before passing the cafe front by, something within the cafe caught her eyes - a stem of pussy willow, straightening itself up among a bundle of bittersweet and dried fall leaves. A few strands of newly sprouted branches were also inserted, making it a combination of spring and fall colors.

The seasons of life, all mingled together, into one vase of the elegantly dried and the freshly grown.

Reflected by the pristinely clear glass, the sky of changing cotton whites is constantly changing shape. Soon the early-evening breeze is going to blow, she thought, then she'd have to be back to get ready for dinner. There are a few friends she's getting together tonight for one last time.

"Pussy willow ...", she laughed as she walked slowly back to her apartment and suddenly thought of the time when she first learned of this term. It was P who told her, in fact. Not even knowing how to call it in Chinese, there is no way for her to even learn this term in English.

"Just that fuzzy little thing," she used to call it that way, in Chinese. "Mom~ Are you going to buy a fresh bundle of that 'mao2 mao2 de4' branches this year?", she'd used to ask before the arrival of Chinese New Year. Mom never ended up bringing home a new bundle of furriness, but they ended up always keeping that same bunch from years ago, still perfectly intact with little red ribbons neatly tied onto each branch. At least in the Chinese traditions, the "mao2 mao2 de4" thing is one of the landmark decorations signifying the coming of the lunar new year to come.

"That 'mao2 mao2 de4" thing ...", she chuckled again. When is she ever going to learn all the right terms and speak the language right?

"The seasons of life," she thought, another phrase that would take minutes before she could think of the accurate translations for in Chinese, but a beautiful phrase that she loves using from time to time when referring to the cycles of things that come and go in life.

As the next seasons of life would be spent half-across the globe from the very sidewalk on which she took her steps home, she wondered what they would look like, at a different time and place and landscape in every possible ways.

Perhaps more words that she cannot find in the native language or will have trouble knowing in the adopted foreign language that she could always read better than writing or speaking. Yet still the same four seasons of life vividly felt through regardless of the absent of words and phrases and eloquent descriptions. The heart will eventually speak forth the emotions and reactions inside, and the seasons will evolve in spite of the inability to verbalize.

As at times the beauty of the frivolous cotton whites above that only need to be gazed upon and taken in fully than given the exact words and phrases for precise descriptions.

梅ちゃん at 1:09:00 PM



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