One day as Mother was looking out through the living room window, she said in a reflective mood,
Human life is like the seasons: Spring is like childhood. It is the time to grow, develop his roots, and experience the warmth of the sun and taste the soothing and thirst-quenching rain.
Summer is like the period of being a youth. A person will grow stronger. His roots will sink deeper into the ground. There may be heavy winds and torrential rain, but he will stand firm if he has strong and deep roots.
Fall resembles middle age, with fruit and brilliant foliage. As some trees bear an abundance of fruit while others do not, a person who was nurtured well in childhood and developed strength and deep roots during his youth will be rewarded for his accomplishments, and will be admired and respected by people around him.
In late Fall leaves start to fall, like a man losing his hair. Branches will lose their suppleness like a man’s muscles, and joints turning stiff. Winter is like old age, without leaves to protect from the cold and without suppleness to bend with the wind. A person waits for God to call his name to come Home.
Seasons come and go in cycles, year after year. But the human seasons have only one cycle. A person is born once and dies once.
Then Mother looked at me, somewhat embarrassed at being so philosophical in front of a small child.
Some people are born to be apple trees and some to be willow trees, Mother said with a smile. And Hi-Dong, you are going to be a big, big oak tree, bigger than the tree you see out there. People will come, and sit by you, feel your strength, and enjoy the shade that you provide.
I did not know what she was talking about, but it sounded good. So I held her hand, and returned a smug smile as if I understood.