There comes a moment in the day when you finally sit down
for a few minutes. It’s that incident when you can feel all your thoughts
rushing right back into your head. Everything you’ve been trying to avoid
contact with by keeping yourself busy with other things. Until that very
You take a deep breath. Close your eyes and try to block
everything out. But you can’t. Because at some point or other, you will have to
face them. Those thoughts you so dexterously try to avoid.
They bombard your head, asking questions about how you’ll
fare through with your finances; about the uncertainties that surround your
life; your job; your relationship; your career; your future. You feel a cloud
settling over your head and a migraine imminent. Your pulse begins to race and
a panic attack ensues.
All you wish for at that moment is a furry pal to come jump
on your lap and purr soothingly.
Or at least someone to come over and wrap you up in a tight
hug that will expel all the torturous thoughts from your head.
You need quiet. Calm. To think clearly, you need an orderly
head, tidy surroundings and a positive attitude.
Because everything will be alright eventually. Despite the
patience you don’t think you have right now. It won’t be the end unless things
are OK. Just remember that.
They are the ones that give colour to the flower itself. The
ones you anxiously wait to grow, to bloom, to open up and reveal the others
hidden inside. In a rose, it’s the petals that give it its essence.
The petals, just like the rose itself, are full of
symbolisms. They represent the destination at the end of a long journey. They are
what makes the climb up from the thorny stem worth the pain of it. They are
what constitute the beauty of an otherwise ‘aggressive’ flower. For if you can’t
grasp the thorns, you are not worthy of the flower. The petals are what accentuate
Like William Carlos Williams wrote,
“the rose is obsolete” for “it is at the edge of the petal that love
Flowers are symbols of love, of adoration, of caring. But they
are soon doomed to wither, their petals opening up and eventually falling off. But
even loose petals are symbols of love, of passion, of romance. They are the
ones that hold the memories of the initial rose. Of the moment in which it was
delivered. Of the emotions that overwhelmed the giver and the receiver, and of
the instants that ensued.
It is not accidental that the best decoration potpourri usually
include flower petals. Because they enclose everything the flower once was and
everything it still remains. It reminds us that no matter how closed up we are,
we can always bloom, let others past our thorns, and persist, maintaining our
beauty unaffected by time.
“Come on, let’s go!”
His voice was anxious, masking the excitement and enthusiasm of a well-kept
secret only he knew.
She was reserved, almost scared. Where were they going? Why?
What would be there? How would they go? How long would it take? Her mind was a
whirlwind of questions. She probably appeared dazed too, perhaps betraying her
confusion to the outsider. So much, that it prompted him to reassure her. “It’ll be fine. Don’t be so afraid. It’s
going to be fun!”
He took her hand and led her to the car. He smiled at her,
his eyes glowing. She smiled back nervously. “Sometimes you don’t need to have all the answers,” he said.
When the car stopped, he turned towards her. She was gazing
outside trying to figure out where they were. “Close your eyes”, he said. She was almost shocked. “Come on, close your eyes. You’ll ruin the
surprise otherwise. Don’t you trust me?” It was a cheap card to play – the trust
issue – but he knew she would cave to it. “No
She gripped his arm as he led her out of the car and up a
grassy hill. The fresh air penetrated her nostrils and filled her lungs with
oxygen. It helped her get her mind off the fact that her heart was pumping mad
with anguish about this unknown event.
“We’re here,” he
said. She timidly opened her eyes.
In the middle of a picture-perfect scene – green valley,
tall trees in bloom, colourful flowers, peace and quiet – there lay a picnic
feast waiting for them.
She laughed wholeheartedly and jumped in his arms.
“Sometimes not knowing
too much is the best way to keep calm,” he winked.
He was born out of wedlock so had no right to education. He was
considered an outcast and society looked down on him. Yet he managed to ignore
them all – all those eyes who stared with loathing when he walked by, as if he
had stolen something from them, as if they had become lesser people because of
He was curious of the world. Of how everything was
structured to make things work so seamlessly. He was astonished by the way
birds used their wings to fly or how water was present almost everywhere. He had
a mind that was constantly alert. His thoughts would keep him awake at night
and without food, for he was too busy thinking about how he could make
improvements in an already magnificently built world. He wanted humans to go
further. But they had to want that too.
He was a scientist, an inventor, a sculptor, an artist, a
musician, a thinker. He was a genius. One who comprehended the need to go out
and do things to achieve something. One the world acknowledged too late in
He was the one who proved the world was a better place
because of him. But people couldn’t see it.
His name was Leonardo.
“There are three
classes of people: those who see, those who see when they are shown, those who
do not see”
“Learning is the only
thing the mind never exhausts, never fears, and never regrets”
There was no sign of it in the morning. Even before the sun
was out, there was frost in the atmosphere and it was freezing. But it was
expected to stay dry. It was in the midst of winter, however, and snow was
always a possibility.
Not even a half hour had passed when the first snowflake hit
The Chihuahua inside the warm vehicle got excited. As if it
had understood the magic that was happening. It began to hop on the seat,
stretching out its little tongue as if to lick the snowflakes that began to
mount on the glass in front of it.
The driver next to the small dog was smiling. Not only
because of the white scenery that began to spread rapidly now; but mainly due
to the unexpected reaction from his four-legged friend.
When the road began to become more slippery, they slowed
down. Caution was required.
That was when the little dog pinned its eyes outside a
certain spot on the window and began to bark. Its tail was elongated like a
The driver stopped and got outside.
The snow was even denser now. You could almost feel it
falling on you. The Chihuahua managed to slip outside just before the car door
There in front of them, near some snow-covered bushes was a
furry bagel-like-circle. You could barely make out its pointy ears and fluffy
tail. The snowflakes had almost engulfed it.
The dog’s owner approached cautiously and extended his hand.
The fox opened its eyes. It didn’t move. Perhaps it was too scared. Or perhaps
it was too numb from the cold. Its piercing blue-green eyes almost begged for
The driver picked it up without breaking the circle it had
sat in. Inside the warmth of the car, the fox fluffed up its fur and almost
appeared to smile.
The Chihuahua was happy. It didn’t want to be enjoying the
luxury of a refuge when some other co-animal was freezing outside. Just because
you’re safe, doesn’t mean everyone else is too.
When Grandpa got up with the rising sun, he did not expect
that the front door wouldn’t open. Neither the back. He knew it was going to be
a difficult day. But for some, it would be exactly the opposite.
He tip-toed into Jenny’s room and gently shook her to waken
her from dreamland. She half-opened her eyes and stretched every inch of her small
“Good morning, Grandpa,”
“There’s a surprise
outside your window,” he smiled.
She jumped out of bed and looked outside.
Everything was white. An impeccable white blanket had
covered everything as far as she could see. It was snowing all night and it
continued to do so now. They were snowed in.
Grandpa was concerned because they were somewhat isolated in
the village and their resources were scarce. He was planning to go into town today,
had the weather permitted it. But few things in life usually go according to
Jenny was excited; she was jumping up and down and rushing
to put on warm clothes in order to run outside. It was freezing, but enthusiasm
always keeps you warm.
“Come on Grandpa, let’s
go build a snowman!” she called as she tried to open the door.
The old man used a shovel, back-aching and almost sweating
in the sub-zero temperatures, striving to open the door.
When he succeeded the little girl ran outside and dived into
There wasn’t much he could do anyway. He just had to wait
for assistance. So they might as well have some fun in the meantime.
Snow beautifies everything. It is nature’s magic that fills
your soul with wonder.
It was always on the table. Ever since it was set there in a
ceremonial style by the two of them.
No matter what happened after that, the fights, the
disagreements, the shouting, the heartbreaks, it was there. Left there as a
constant reminder of the good times.
Because the bad tempers would pass. And the light would be
The glass jar of coloured papers represented exactly that. The
positivity of our lives. The need to realise that it is not all black and
white. That there is colour. The one we create and we are responsible for
It was snowing when he set foot outdoors. If it was up to
him, he wouldn’t have, but his mother forced him to go out in search of the
required groceries for lunch. He was the sort of person who always found
excuses not to do something. He would constantly say he wanted to but it was simply not possible because of a series of pretexts
he would cough up at the moment.
Procrastinating was Tommy’s expertise. But as he matured, he
found that there were things you could simply not postpone. And the less you
did, the more reliable you would become and the better status you would obtain
as a person and as a character.
But the most memorable lesson, he learnt in a cabin in the
woods that day he went off-track.
It was a wooden cabin below the snowy mountains. Adjacent
was a lake in which two magnificent swans were found. It seemed almost mythical.
He approached in hope it would offer solace from the extreme cold.
Above the front door there was a sign that read “When there’s a will there’s a way, when
there’s none there’s delay”. He
knocked on the door and waited. Then he knocked again. There was no response.
After a while, as his hands began to turn numb from the
cold, he decided to search for a back door.
There was one with an “entry”
Inside was a carpenter. One of the type he had only read
about in storybooks.
“It took you long
enough,” he told Tommy as he led him to a seat near the blaring fireplace
and offered him a cup of steaming hot tea.
“Had you figured out
the meaning of the sign sooner, your hands wouldn’t have turned so pale from
the frostbite,” the carpenter explained.
“Simply stating your
desire or intention to do something does not make it real. It’s when you act
upon it that it happens. And that is what matters. Because others can’t see
your intentions, they can only judge you by your actions”.
Tommy was beginning to understand. This meeting was not by
chance. In fact, he had never seen this cabin in this part of the valley
“Stop denying the fact
that you’re delaying things. Or simply not doing them. The time to act is now,
not later. You don’t know what will happen later on. If you can do something
now, why are you waiting? What for? There is always time to do something
important. To show others you care. If
you can act, and if you’re going to use your intention in your defence later
on, why procrastinate? If it is significant, you do it. That is what others
will see. And what matters most, is what you show”.
Tommy drank his last sip and was ready to leave.
There was nothing he could say. After all, this meeting was
not for him to speak, but to listen.
“Character is built on
the strength of your actions”, he heard the carpenter say as he waved him