i didn’t really want to hear of any more news about the global gloom of economy, telling us to save money, if any, for a rainy day. it was a rainy sunday. but we had spells of bright, calm and warm weather (around 2o centigrade!). a typically sunny day of november is called “a fine little spring day 小春日和” in japan. indeed, it was spring-like and the sun was inviting everyone to be outside. still, the air was autumnal, fresh and clear, and the colours of roadside-trees as far as i could see from my window were red, yellow and brown. how could i resist going out? even when i got something to work at home, it must be a great shame if i did not take a long walk in my park on such a fine little spring day.
the reasons i can live in this (sort of like culturally barren) middle-class suburbia are my mother and my park. as i’d always lived miles and miles away from my mother before, i am happy about living within striking distance of my mother’s flat now. also, as i’d almost always lived near a park, i chose to live here within shouting distance of a park when i decided to settle in osaka. my park is not as fashionable as urban oases like central park of new york or hyde park of london. it is, however, the largest lush green area in this city. it has cascades, a huge pond (we don’t call it a lake) and lovely paths along them. people would go there for walking, running, walking their dogs or taking pictures of birds.
the park lays there for flora and fauna, too. it provides birds a perfect sanctuary. i now know which branches a beautiful kingfisher would perch on in winter. i saw a raccoon family gingerly popping out of a bush by the pond for the first time in september. crows and cats are the modern inhabitants in the park that are only on the increase among them. crows have become urban trouble-makers in big cities for rubbish disposal all over in japan, because they can live on a “mixed-diet”. as for cats, people would go dump their cats there when they no longer want to or cannot have them at home. on the other hand, many people have found solace in feeding those cats, who have multiple names that vary according to their feeders.
when i walked in my park on friday, i found a sakura 桜 tree in blossom every autumn, but there were only a few momiji 紅葉 (japanese maple) trees changed colour, while cherry leaves started to fall. so i headed for another park some 1 km away. i remembered its maples would usually turn red earlier than momiji. i was a little too late to get there, actually. i missed its best. but, all the foliage was still glowing with scrumptious colours: cardinal, vermilion, burgundy, crimson and amber. as i was walking back home, i was thinking about last year when in convalescence -- back then, i felt increasingly appreciative of the autumn i was able to enjoy again. a walk on a lovely day always gives solace to me. i was hoping that my brother, too, was having a pleasant and peaceful autumn day before his hospitalisation next week.
on thursday, my brother and i had visited our mother together to inform her that he was diagnosed esophagus cancer. we did our best to play it down, though. her shock seemed miner than when she got in my case. that was a real relief. she appeared to have learned to be fully aware of the possibility since i fell ill last year, which was utterly shocking news to all my family. as i’ve survived, i can be something that makes her believe her children will certainly make a speedy recovery. yes, she should believe it. he is my brother. i do believe it, too. my heart, meanwhile, aches whenever i imagine how sad a mother can get when she finds herself useless before her child left in a critical situation.
after my brother left us, my mother looked heavy-hearted, though we both tried to look as normal as possible. she handed me a pinch of saffron threads she grew and harvested for me this year, too. i simply hope that she will plant bulbs of saffron for me next year and this little happiness will last forever. after wondering around the globe alone, family values are my quite recent discovery, as it were. especially, i treasure the closest ever bond with my mother and another with my daughter in my entire life. i should make her paella, using her saffron. or, some seafood stew like bouillabaisse would be nice to bring her on a cold evening. i would make either one when shion, my daughter, stays with me next time, hopefully soon.