Lim: Spring

FALL has always been my favorite season but for some reason, spring somehow appeals to me now. When the plane landed at JFK three weeks ago, ground temperature was four degrees Celsius.

I had become complacent through the years. I didn’t really have a fall or winter jacket with me. I had a cardigan and a light fleece but oh well, I told my sister, I will wear every item of clothing in my carry-on bag when we deplane. I survived.

It was supposed to be spring but every year, when I come to this part of the world at this time, spring somehow appears only when I am about to leave for the tropical island I call home.

If I am enamored with the seasons—spring, winter and fall—it is because it is summer all year where I live. And so I savor all the seasons I experience while away from home. And today, it is spring.

Am I on vacation? Sort of but not really. I am still working via the Internet. Yes, the work never leaves me even as I leave the physical office which is why I always say I move my office each spring to another location. But the location change, changes me too.

Every day, I traverse the distance between the houses of my two siblings who live in the same development. And every time I walk by the house at the corner, I stop and stare at the grey sedan parked at the curb.

I first spotted the owner of this car several years ago—an elderly lady, probably between 75 to 80 years of age. She lived alone and according to my brother, was the only resident in the entire development allowed to park in the corner, in front of her house, because of age and disability.

The first time I saw her—she had her handbag in hand and was painstakingly walking towards her walker which was standing on the sidewalk. She slung her handbag over the walker and then took another trip back to the car to get her groceries.

I offered a hand but she politely told me she could manage. I did not insist. Maybe, her independence was important to her. I saw her again during that trip but haven’t seen her since. Each year, though, I see her car at the corner and the familiar sight of the walker inside it.

I hope she is well. She’ll probably never know how seeing her patiently navigate her way from the sidewalk to her house in a walker with her handbag and a bag of groceries, changed me forever.

If she can do it, so can I. Every year I am here and see her car at the corner, I remind myself of how much more I can do for myself as well as for others, given everything I have.

The cherry blossoms are now in full bloom. But soon, the leaves will fall and it will be time to go home. Fall has always been my favorite season but spring somehow appeals to me now—maybe because it reminds me that while I can’t be in full bloom forever, I can still try to bloom, at least, once a year. If she can do it, so can I.


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