Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Dear, Mr. Autumn.

Summer in Tokyo this year was unusually long. The record-breaking heat spell went on and on, until we residents started to think that we were now officially in the subtropical zone, the high temperature prevailing and becoming a permanent reality of our lives in the capital.

Then, the persistent heat suddenly disappeared. A few days of rain bought a chill which made us think that the winter has arrived without the mellow and yellow autumn in-between.

Damn that! I do love autumn. I love the deep blue sky over the sober tree. I love to watch a persimmon tree bearing red fruits all over the place. I miss the cool breeze that make the leaves rustle. It is too hard to go straight into the cold winter, without the soothing effect of a gorgeous autumn.

Dear, Mr. Autumn, please don't go away without giving us a chance to come back to our sincere selves after the carefree summer.

Please, please give us a fair share of autumn. Someone responsible up there, please!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Myself and the red-bellied newt (5)

So the newt was alive, and I breathed a sigh of relief. Once in a direct contact with the reality, a sense of practical wisdom took hold of me. I scooped the poor chap out of the tank, and put it on a dish. I changed the water with brisk vividness. I even washed the stones one by one, rubbing off the algae on the surface, something that I had never done before. I fed the newt, once it was back in the refreshed habitat. From its still posture, it was hard to tell whether the small creature was grateful for what I had done finally after all these days, or held a justifiable resentment against my negligence, which almost cost his life.

So the newt crisis was over. After that fateful day, I lived with the newt in peace, taking regular care of the tank, until a few years later, it died of natural causes. Although my conscience was now clear, a strange aftertaste lingered in my mind.

The fact that I was unable to come face to face with an unpleasant truth hurt me in a permanent way. In the sure knowledge of the gradually deteriorating situations, I could go about with my life as if nothing was happening. I could not bring myself to do the simple task of newt tank maintenance. There, you had it.

The whole process revealed something ominous and yet unavoidable about the human nature. The significance of the newt episode in my life remains and grows within me to this day.

(End of this essay.)