I decided to take a walk around our ancestral home. It had been passed down through the Hyacinth family for generations, and was now more than a hundred years old.
My family was a powerful one, one that was associated with spring and the ending of winter.
The house was situated in the bubblegum mountains of Yoshino. That was one of the reasons the Hyacinth bloodline was thought together with spring. Yoshino is one of the best places in Japan to watch the cherry blossoms bloom, hence earning these cliffs the name ‘bubblegum mountains.’
When spring arrives, our house is decked in pale pink cherry blossom petals and violet wisteria hanging from the patio roof and our namesake, hyacinths, swirling with the light roses, like cotton candy.
It’s almost like a March/April wonderland, hidden from the rest of the world. That’s because our ancestral home is hidden in the folds of the peaks.
March has almost died out, and April is about to begin. The early weeks of April are really the peak seasons of the gardens. One always receives an aura of awe when walking through our gardens, feeling something pulse under the earth, something wonderful that is stirring, and smelling the early snowdrops.
There really is something bizarre about finding something alive, hidden within the snow, like crocuses emerging from within a snowglobe.
Almost like a magic of its own.
I was born and raised here, then sent to boarding school for education. After my college years, I returned to my birthplace.
I’m currently going towards in my favorite part of the garden; the last place the snow melts. It’s also where the voices are. I still haven’t figured out where they come from or why they speak to me only.
To get there, I have to go through my father’s favorite garden and my grandmother’s garden.
My father’s garden is one that gives more of a summery vibe when it blooms. It is relatively new to the Hyacinth mansion. It has sunflowers, marigolds, and musk roses, with a little pond for water lilies. There’s even a little hobbit hole with a window that you can go inside of, which completes the summer fairy garden look. There used to be a bird house there, painted by my mother, that had visitors like springtime larks, but it’s now covered with my father’s red grape plants.
My grandmother’s garden is definitely a spring garden, unlike mine, which is a more winter/spring type garden. She used to plant tulips and primroses and the prettiest little lilies of the valley before, but now that she’s old, she let it run free. It is a proper spring paradise, not neat and tidy, but beautiful nonetheless because they’re growing naturally, without anyone to take care of them. There is a proper pond, not unlike my father’s garden, except this one is bigger, and has a bridge across it. The bridge is entwined with my grandmother’s favorite flower, hydrangea.
I finally reach my favorite garden.
I love this area because it always inspires me to see little buds poking out of the fluffy ice. There’s a little swing made of wood there as well. What could anyone else ever want? Crisp breezes bringing the smell of new earth, watching white snow melt, revealing tiny little blooms, and a swing that swings to the rhythm of spring springing, an escape from mundane life?
Take nothing for granted, little one.
You’ll understand when everything has been taken away from you.
I seat myself on the swing, trying to block out the voice. Something shiny in the snow catches my eye.
I continue swinging.
It seems to sparkle more insistently.
I get up and crouch next to it. It’s something that was probably buried a long time ago.
I dig underneath the snow.
It’s a little diary, encased in transparent plastic. The shiny buckle was what caught my eye. It’s been preserved very well, presumably for a few years, because the pages are yellowed and would probably have been destroyed by now in any other case.
It seems to be a collection of some sort. Leaves and petals are stuck to the pages, with captions written in straight handwriting, in ink. I know all of these blossoms and leaves. I wonder who wrote it. Whoever did, must love nature and spring as much as I do.
I look through it. I realize that all of these preserved pieces of the environment are from my own home. Wisteria, roses, cherry blossoms, two whole pages of hyacinths, and my grandmother’s favorite hydrangea.
I can be sure this was written by a Hyacinth.
Who else would know their flowers as well as a clan that emerged from spring?
Foolish heart who thought she could’ve spoken,
Who fought and failed where you stand now.
The snow crunches under my boots as I make my way back to the house. Shadows dance as petals flutter down.
“Grandmother? I found something in the snow.”
My grandmother yelled back.
“Bring it here!”
My grandmother likes to sit in the patio, overlooking her daughter’s (my mother’s) own garden. Out of all of them, I think my mother’s is the prettiest.
Cherry blossom trees line either side. It really does feel like a snowglobe, except you’re on the inside, and the snow is replaced with petals. Lush grass makes a symbol on the ground, almost like a Greek omega symbol. In between, is a paradise of flowers. There are so many blooms, butterflies flock in herds. The occasional human visitors honestly call this area the ‘Butterfly Terrarium’.
My grandmother calls me over.
“What is it?”
“I found something in the snow.”
I hand her the diary and Grandmother examines it.
Then she exclaims.
“What is it, Grandma?”
“This… This is your mother’s flora journal”
That left me temporarily stunned. I didn’t really know my mom. My mother was always away for work while she was alive, so it was always just me, my father, Grandma, Grandpa, and occasionally my uncles or aunts. I rarely saw her at all, and whenever I did, never at home.
It was hard to imagine that someone who was as distant as my mother would bury something, something about which I insistently felt that, it was perhaps for me to find? Why would she do this?
“Listen, I don’t care what they all say. Your mother is alive.”
And then I heard it. Again.
Shadows dance, the curse is broken…
After sharply inhaling, I took the diary back. It wasn’t even outdated, having my father’s new garden, and the new seeds that I had planted. She had filled it in. But when?
I pluck a petal from my favorite flowers, the lilies of the valley, and then I head into the house, and into my mother’s old room.
The room has a depressing aura of emptiness.
I search her desk for a pen, and I find a dip pen, that was probably used to write the diary. I label it, with the name and the date of when I entered it in. I find some glue, and stick the little petal onto the remaining space. Something so small had signaled a new life for this journal. A new page.
A new beginning.
More magic crocuses emerging from a magic snowglobe.