“If you can’t go back to your mother’s womb, you’d better learn to be a good fighter.”
Mum and I have always shared a special relationship. She’d take my side when my older siblings would bully me. She’d remind me it was important to have faith in myself and work harder whenever I failed. She taught me that being a good person is more important than how successful I was. Undoubtedly, she’s my backbone, my support system, my number one fan, and a friend who sticks through thick and thin. I thought our bond would lose its strength as I grew up or moved away from her. Strangely, it only grew stronger as the physical distance kept us apart.
“Not just beautiful, though–the stars are like the trees in the forest, alive and breathing. And they’re watching me.”
― Haruki Murakami
When you’re away from home and your beloved; your mind yearns for familial bonds. When we moved to Seoul, I found comfort in the lap of nature. She never judged me. She never cared about the language I spoke or didn’t. She embraced me with open arms and made me feel right at home. Every once in a while, she’d also throw in a splash of colour to cheer me.
“You realize that you habitually thought of Mom when something in your life was not going well, because when you thought of her it was as though something got back on track, and you felt re-energized.”
― Kyung-Sook Shin
Unfortunately, even the strongest relationship is vulnerable to cracks. When mum and I fight, we don’t speak for days — before I have to be the one to cave in. These days, mother nature and I are on a cold war of sorts. She’s decided to test my endurance and I’m not taking it too nicely. Last Friday the temperature dipped to -26°C (real feel). We’d often wake up to windows covered with ice crystals. It was not uncommon to hear stories about frozen pipes and washing machines refusing to budge.
“I like this place and could willingly waste my time in it.”
― William Shakespeare
Two days back, mother nature tried to placate me and sent a downpour of soft flurries of snow from above. The old forest line was covered under a thick blanket of snow. At first, I felt it was her feeble attempt of showing me a silver lining.
“The only love that I really believe in is a mother’s love for her children.”
― Karl Lagerfeld
Nature is rarely partial. She spread her white blanket over the frozen River Han. I had never seen this gigantic river lying motionless and suspended in time. The promenade was deserted and few noisy magpies tried to stir life into the setting. The eerie silence was occasionally broken by the gurgles of laughing school kids on a swing. I could count the number of people I saw and that was a rarity for the River Han.
“Art is the child of nature in whom we trace the features of the mothers face.”
― Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
“The poetry of the earth is never dead.”
― John Keats
As I walked back home, on the bridge that runs across the giant belly of the river, I was taken by the beauty of the scene before me. I found it hard to believe I was in the centre of a bustling city and even the sound of the whizzing cars, behind me, seemed distant. I had chanced upon an alternate reality.
“Being a mother is an attitude, not a biological relation.”
― Robert A. Heinlein
Mum always knew I was a pessimist. But she never gave up on me. She always told me to be patient and wait for the right moment. That day on the bridge, mother nature was no different. As I looked below and marvelled at the incredible formations of ice, I realised how fortunate I was to be standing there. I felt as if she was trying to reach out to me and divert my attention away from the cold. It was also her way of reminding me that hardship is necessary to reap a reward. And as much as I hate to admit it, mum knows best!