Yesterday, on Saturday, I helped out with some cleaning around the house. I think we cleaned every inch of our house to the point where I was even sweeping leaves off my deck (we’ve never once done that..ever) From the corner of my eye, I watched my dad tend to his gardens fervently. He takes care of his plants like they are his third child–making sure the flowers are all arranged the way just perfectly pleasing to his eyes and the lettuce is ripe to be picked. With the sun at the right temperature warming my skin, I thought to myself, “This is sublime.”
I bet my dad is truly happy right now. I bet this is where he founds the greatest peace…with nature. I remember my grandfather telling me years ago, that my dad would go hiking and walk around nature all the time when he was young. He loved studying acupuncture. He just loves nature.
And even when I was a child, I remember our trips camping, fishing, and my dad just spitting out short random facts about how to tug at your fishing rod to wrangle in the fishies and such.
My dad is a successful business man now. I am so proud of him. I always have been. But when I see him antsy and anxious all the time, yelling Korean profanities at the air…my pride quickly sinks to sadness.
I think to myself that his true happiness and peace is from his roots and the simple life in the country side that was his livelihood. I wish sometimes he could live in the mountains or in a valley of endless greenery.
I realized I was in my imagination land so I snapped myself out of it to look up to see my dad across the lawn again.
He loves tending to his plants so much-feeding, nurturing them-because he knows exactly how they’ll turn out by step a, b, and c. He knows what he will reap when he plants the seeds. When he planted a tree in our backyard a few years ago, he came into my room telling me excitedly about his tree and how it’ll be growing while I’m in college (oh the analogy!)
He knows exactly what plants his seeding, how many. How much water he pours, how many times, and approximately when the sprouts will start to show. He knows what they will look like in the end. He knows in the end they will wither.
He thought he knew what he was doing when his children were were going through a similar growth process. He enrolled them in music schools. He paid for years of hagwon. He talked endlessly about the CPA route and how I were to obtain my 150 credits. He thought he was going to see a future CPA. He thought he was going to see a successful business woman proudly walking down the concrete streets of New York City like a boss.
He thought he was going to be able to speak proudly of his daughter to his father in Korea so he could rest peacefully in his old age and back pains.He loves his plants and wakes up every morning to tend to them. He wants to know they are doing. Because at least he knows they are the only things that can turn into what he wants them to be. The sesames leaf sprouts were finally ripe to be eaten. And the bulbs bloomed to chrysanthemums just as he had wanted. The other two he tried to nurture for 21 years bloomed to be ferns and red oaks instead of red roses and lilacs…how failed he felt.
How disappointed he feels…What to make of his situation. Is this what he thinks of while the clock marks his 16th hour at the office? Does he smile when he thinks of his chrysanthemums blooming right? Or does he straighten himself up when that weight of sadness about his children hover his mind like fog clouds?I wish I knew what went on that busy mind of his…