“If you can’t go back to your mother’s womb, you’d better learn to be a good fighter.”

― Anchee Min

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!


Posted by:twobrownfeet

Writer-Photographer Duo. Now in Seoul.

16 replies on “Beloved

  1. What a wonderful post Cheryl. I love the way you’ve woven your own mother’s love and upbringing with the eternal bond we have with Mother Nature. Beautifully written and exquisite photos as usual. ❤️

    1. You keep inspiring me my friend! I remember reading your post on your mum’s recipes. I think it was in my head. 🙂 Thank you for your generous praise! Sending you a warm hug from Seoul! ❤

  2. Beautifully written. Drawing similarities between your mum and Mother Nature is a high tribute to your mother. It would be nice to see a frozen river or lake one time in my life. I’ve never seen it before. Lucky you although you you have to put up with the freezing cold! I imagine getting out of bed must be pretty difficult. Brrrr….!

    1. I’m so glad you liked it, Helen! Mum’s been a strong influence in my life. We’ve walked on a frozen river last year. It wasn’t safe to walk on this river. Getting out of bed is difficult! Haha…It’s a fight. 🙂

  3. I love the words you use to describe the comfort you found in Mother Nature when you first arrived in Seoul. It reminded me of my spiritual journey. After sampling the world’s religions as a youth, I became so disenchanted that I almost became an atheist. But it was in the beauty of nature that I reconnected with God (or the universe or the force or energy or whatever IT is) a connection that strengthens daily.

    1. Hi Lisa! Your story reminds me about my own journey with spiritualism and religion. I’ve been a believer and an atheist at different times. I completely agree with you. Nature helps me connect with the invisible forces that we find so hard to explain. Have a great week! xo

  4. Lovely tribute post to your mother and mother nature. I like the way you wound those and perfect quotes and photos to go along with it. Mother/ daughter relationships can be complicated. I do think “absence (or maybe just distance) makes the heart grow fonder.


    1. Hi Peta! It’s so good to hear from you. I couldn’t have said it better. Mother/daughter relationships are pretty complex. Distance does make the heart grow fonder! 🙂

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.