The spring had with it warmth and happiness. Basking in its radiant sunlight, the earth could finally forget the melancholy of winter landscapes, with their dull-white snow and dried branches. The blacks and whites of winter had finally brightened into full-blown colour: the sky a tranquil blue, the earth covered with green grass.
Flower buds of so many hues peeped out from amidst the limbs and twigs. These delicate buds, bursting forth from dried bark, had been forced to endure dreadful chills. But nonetheless they had always continued to prepare for the passing of the awful winter chill.
Now, the snows could no longer remain stubborn in the face of the warmth that had arrived. So the ice thawed and the water soaked into the earth, to be swallowed up by roots and refresh the plants.
The spring knows no favourites. It even visited my garden, nudging the plants there to blossom. But in nature everything is constantly changing, and the flowers in my garden are no exception. Eventually the petals withered again; the remaining buds, pecked by birds.
One day autumn came, and with it the sense that the time of the flowers was over. The chill winds once again stripped the leaves of the plants and the trees with their invisible hands. And before long, the snowflakes and frosts set out again to kill the flowers.
The blossoms were helpless as always, and fell easily to the ground. But they never failed to store their remaining energies inside the bony branches that would continue to struggle numbly against the brutal cold. And on the day those branches met with the radiant sunrays once again, the strength stored there would trigger off another round of blossoming. Though the brutal winter could kill the flowers, it could do nothing against this inner strength – the souls that lay hidden deep inside the bones of the branches.
Each of us needs to struggle against the winter chill and prepare for the coming spring. We must raise new plants to replace the damaged ones. And if we do not rise to the occasion, if we feel helpless, we will be the ones who feel the loss of the flowers when they fail to bloom.
Because we are afraid of the winter, we feel helpless when the cold winds blow. But if we succumb to that feeling, we do not give ourselves the chance to welcome the spring. Of course, spring cannot be brought on by prayers alone. But as long as we are able to store our strength, our souls, in our bodies during the difficult seasons, our spring will no doubt bring with it a bounty of flowers to our garden.
Translated from the Burmese by Tayza.
~ Khet Mar is a journalist, poet and author born in Burma.
Romila Thapar addresses invitees at the
Southasian relaunch of Himal Southasian,
IIC, New Delhi, January 2013.
flickr / The US Army
On 1 December 2013, Afghan President Hamid Karzai accused the US of cutting fuel supplies to Afghan security forces. Despite US pressure, Karzai continues to stall the signing of a Bilateral Security Agreement.
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