Lone Flower – by Kumar Harsh (College)

The valley always remained transient. In Spring, birds, vines and small animals invaded the territory. In Winter, deep snow froze everything still. Hanzo was returning from his daily chore of collecting herbs after tending to his farm. His battered kimono, and his worn-down shoes made it hard for him to climb up the highest hill. Every day, after dark, Hanzo came to the peak, to claim his share of the view of the ravine.
The flowing river beneath him seemed mystical to him. Despite his troubles, it instilled in him a profound, unmoving peace.
Why was it so? He always asked. He never knew.
One day, when returning from work, he climbed the hill and looked below, he noticed something he hadn’t before. It was small. It had a yellow tongue. Its mouth was purple. It was in the middle of the river, standing still on the small rock which had lain bare since he had eyes to look at it.
Snow had begun to fall.
He hurried back to his empty house, near the end of the ravine. His mind though struck by this sudden lightning of curiosity, suggested it was wise to ensure something goes in his stomach first.
However, it always came back to him. Why was he so curious? He never knew.
Next morning, snow had cast the river solid, forcing Hanzo to take out a few rags for warmth.
The morning was slow. The farm was worked at, trees were cut for firewood, and when night struck again, Hanzo decided to visit the peak. Hanzo gazed at the frozen river and trees covered in white powder. His brows however quivered when he saw it again. This time in the middle of snow.
Hanzo hurried down the hill. He reached the frozen river and stepped foot in it. Step by step he walked towards the strange creature. When upon his final step, he realised it was a crocus.
A snow covered crocus.
The moonlight reflected against the ice, tinging a purple shade beneath it. Hanzo noticed his own reflection.
After many years, Hanzo saw himself smile.

Learn more about the contest which inspired this story:  Fleur 2020-01 – Crocus
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