To my pen, my writing utensil, my mediator between thought and paper:
Let me tell you a story.
Once, there was a home up North. Deadened ivy ran up its bricks. The bricks themselves were cracking. The ivy was old, withering, and the mortar between the bricks acted likewise. There were gray spots on the roof, areas of shingle that had been weather-beaten more harshly than others. It was not a special home. Not to an outsider, anyway. It was old, running alongside a country road and aging all by itself. Time was its only company.
An old man from the Midwest owned the home, but it pained him to visit. It was his parents’ home, and they had died a long while ago. He had never liked the ivy, even when it had been alive. He hadn’t noticed the cracking mortar, but it was only because he had not looked closely enough. Too close an observation and he would’ve felt too much hurt. The memory of good times may have left too sharp a prick.
He did not live in the home, but each year at the beginning of the small warm season of the North, he would visit quietly. It was always a long drive through the cities, the highways, the commotion. But the farther North he drove, the softer the noises became. The highways narrowed to country roads, the pavement to dirt. And when the air became still, he knew he was close to his parents’ home.
Each year when he arrived, he only stayed a single night. He slept on the sofa, the one he had napped in as a child. When the morning came, he unzipped his suitcase. His ancient hands rifled around inside until he found the small paper sack of seeds. Tulip seeds. His mother’s favorite flower.
He walked thoughtfully to the lawn, stooped down to one knee at a nice patch of soil, and with his own aching hands, dug a small hole. He filled the soil with a scattering of tulip seeds, watered his miniature garden with a cup of sink water, and then, without much hesitation, he left the property. He drove back to the Midwest, and whether he tried to limit his thought or not, the tulips stayed on his mind. And although he spent much of the year away from his childhood home, and the tulips, he never could quite erase the thought of them entirely. And that itching thought is what keeps him coming back year after year, despite his insecurity.
Now, my pen: Listen to me.
It is easy to know the story of the old man, but people often forget you, the life of the tulip seeds. Once a year, during the warm season of the North, the seeds are planted. And then they are quickly forgotten. They blossom, of course. They bloom into very pretty flowers in the few months they have. The cold of the North, though, is quick to swallow them. The old man is gone to the Midwest, pondering them, wondering if he’ll return to them, and most importantly, never planting them in a place that they can sprout to their potential.
I am disappointed in myself, and I have disappointed you. I have unknowingly, unwillingly, become the old man.
I promise that I will be him no more.
I will sell my house in the North. I will build its replica in the Midwest. And I will grow my garden of tulips year round, so that you might develop into something I desperately want you to be.
Do not mind the weather. In my mind, it’ll always be the warm season.