Each morning, a charming California Towhee, or so I believe, graces the branches just outside of our dining room window. It doesn’t stay long, often just a few seconds. Other times, a hummingbird would alight a quiet twig and hurriedly grooms itself. However, this morning, a pair of squirrels turned our home and the nearby tree into their racetrack, filling the air with their lively ruckus.
Over the last two weeks, the air started to warm up, and birds began to chirp. It might be hard to notice during the rainy days, but the changes are certainly here. It’s said that in certain regions of China, Minor Cold beats Major Cold at its own frosty game. It definitely feels that way here as well.
The beginning is in full swing, at least for work and otherwise regular life. My inner self however, senses the closure of another alternate timeline as 立春 (Beginning of Spring) and 春節 (Spring Festival) approach.
I feel like I finally have some mental space this year to live this occasion. It takes proactive effort to be in touch with my culture without being in a larger collective. It’s an intentional departure from my immediate surroundings, a recognition that my narrative doesn’t align with the mainstream.
I am mere a single stroke in this larger historic epic, one where more and more characters are woven with increasingly diverse cultural strands. I wish there were a simple blueprint, yet the tapestry of of cultural influences is as complex as a system of linear equations, each with its own dazzling array of variables.
Genzaburo Yoshino wrote:
If it means anything at all to live in this world, it’s that you must live your life like a true human being and feel just what you feel.
The things that you feel most deeply, from the very bottom of your heart, will never deceive you in the slightest.
You should first know for yourself, truly and deeply, where human greatness lies.
Who am I? What does it mean to be a Chinese American? The Year of Dragon is a great one to begin answering this question.