First Bloom

Sometimes things are ugly, not as ugly as a girl’s face mistaken for a shoe box, but as ugly as a bowl of pumpkin soup with salmon roe toppings.

A connoisseur and a skilled cook himself, the fox detests his recent polyethylene chopping board. It’s a disastrous mismatch with the whole organic kitchen in exactly the same way salmon roes’ fishy smell should not interfere with the mild sweetness of pumpkin. The day before the blizzard, the fox went to meet the empress tree down the dried-up stream. It was a typical subtropical winter day: clear blue sky, white blanket of snow with many little paw prints, and subtly quiet chill. He whimpered about his misery with the empress tree. 

I’m a creature of decency!
Why must I deal with this disgrace?
My kitchen used to be in harmony
Now my cooking’s been debased.

And he kept sobbing, burying his nose into the heap of snow beside the tree.

The empress tree replied in a tune as soft as a breeze caressing the branches.

My little fireball on the snow,
I see through what you desire.
The coherence of nature that
Makes your cooking so refined.

– No! You have no damn clue. I need nothing but a wooden chopping board!

The fox howled in despair; the leafless winter branches swayed in consolation.

Today the blizzard has cleared up. The fox is dancing his way to the empress tree. ‘As cheerful as a fox! Or better, as cheerful as a fox with a wooden chopping board!’, he whistles to himself. Drop after drop of sunlight drizzle on to the thick snow blanket, which still retains its purest white.

Oh my dear, you have to see
What has just arrived for me!
A fine wooden chopping board
Whose color is matte and earthy!
Oh my dear you have to –

The fox’s jaw drops as he witnesses his beloved empress tree has been chopped down: no more slender leafless branches which swing in consolation, only the rugged root stands motionless. Now he weeps over his endeared friend, who had her trunk cut down and made into this perfect wooden chopping board he is holding.

The breeze flies in circles, scattering spring’s golden dust over the valley. In the air, the fox hears a tune as soft as a comfort.

My little fireball on the snow
You have had what you yearned for
Don’t shed your tears over this
Sacrifice I made, because
Soon enough I will revive
As the spring has started to bless
And we are all going to thrive

The fox wipes his eyes and looks up. A tiny bud, which still holds on to a tiny stem projected out from the root, has started the first bloom of the season.

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