I am darn sure those flowers were pink, no matter how many times Google images brings up the images of dark red flowers when faced with my search “pomegranate flowers”. I remember the trees towering over me in my youth. I remember trying to climb them to get the fruit. I never succeeded.
My childhood was filled with many hot days and hours and hours of running after my siblings under the shade of our ever growing pomegranate trees. Those pomegranate trees are gone now. My grandfather got rid of them the day after my dad left for the US and we left to go live with our grandma. They required too much care that no one could provide them.
I do not know if they would have been able to survive had we left them there and I guess I never will. All I know is that part of the sweet emotion that runs through me when I hear the word “nostalgia” is the sweet yet tangy taste of the pomegranate seeds from our trees.
Nostalgia is trying to climb up those trees and reach the fruit hanging from the limbs and never being able to make it.
Nostalgia is catching the pomegranates as our father threw them to us from the top of the trees that we could never reach.
Nostalgia is racing with my siblings to see who could get the most pomegranates.
Nostalgia is bringing the pomegranates back to the kitchen, where our mother sat, criss-cross apple sauce style, and peeled away at the pomegranates because our fingers were not quite strong enough to peel the thick skin just yet.
Nostalgia is spinning under the trees that now bore pink flowers instead of the red fruit and trying to catch the petals that came down despite the defiance of the wind.
Nostalgia is elusive, just like the colors of our pomegranates.
The prompt “together” reminded me of a story I had been told as a young girl. The story that has stayed with me since today. A story which had implications I hadn’t thought about.. A story of a lumberjack and his five sons.
There lived a lumberjack who was extremely old and knew he was to die. He had five sons who never got along. He wished to teach them a valuable lesson so he told them each to go and get two sticks.
Being obedient sons and knowing their father would not live long, all the sons went and got two sticks. The father then asked each son to break one of the sticks that they had gathered into two halves. Each son easily broke one of his sticks.
Then the father asked them to hand the remaining sticks over and tied these sticks with a string. He handed the bundle of sticks to his oldest son and asked him to break it. He tried as hard as he could but could not break the bundle of sticks. The father asked the bundle to be passed onto the second oldest and asked him to do the same. He, too, could not break the bundle.
The bundle of sticks made its way from son to son but none of the sons could break the sticks. After the last had tried and failed, the father smiled and asked the sons if it was easier to break a stick at a time or five together. The sons answered one at a time and the father said, “There is power in unity”.
The sons lived as one even after the father’s death.
This story is one of my favourites to this day because I truly believe in the power of unity. I had once been made to question the validity of unity when in freshman year of high school, I learned that Mussolini’s symbol of fascism was the fasces: a bundle of sticks tied together to depict the strength of unity. I don’t remember if I laughed or choked. I think it was some mix of those.
It is fascinating to see the two depictions of the very same concept. I am not one to say that one is right and the other is wrong. I just know that to me, there is power in unity. There is beauty in unity. But just because something is part of a whole does not mean it is not whole itself.