Written and Performed by Yulim KimClick the video below to listen to “Your Acacia Tree” read by the author Yulim Kim.
It was six thirty in the morning. Because I had woken up early in that morning, I came out from the dormitory and walked along the schoolyard. Birds were already moving and trees were waking up. What I have seen here, was a large acacia tree.
Before we talk about the acacia tree, let me ask you a question which may seem to have no relations with the tree.
‘Who will you be?’
This question has been with me for a long time, and it is still with me even today. I also asked this question to many of my classmates. Most of their answers were ‘a person with a good job’ or ‘a person with high salaries’. Well, what I asked them was not a kind of their job they want to be or the amount of money they would like to earn. But unfortunately, we just recognize our future no more than our job.
Today, we are swimming in the deep sea of ‘competition’ only for our ‘stable future’, right here and right now. Well, some of us are on an enormous ship sailing 90 kilometers per hour with good social conditions, while others are drifting at the mercy of the waves wearing an old, worn-out life jacket. Today ‘Success’, ‘Motivation’, and ‘Endless development’ became the natural courses for us to take.
‘Success’ and ‘Self development’ aren’t bad things. Considered to be successful and thus getting proper reputation are very good things. But the problem happens when these things become our one and only purpose of life. When it happens, we start to lose ourselves. We throw our bodies to an endless highway, forgetting what we liked and what really made us happy. And we shout, “Run, run! Never EVER take a rest.”
Well, I did. As I was too preoccupied with ‘a great score’ and ‘being acknowledged by other people’, I burdened myself with my worries, never satisfied with the things that I had done. And I justified this action telling myself “This is inevitable if you want to be recognized by other people.” There were neither rest nor satisfaction in my life. And also, there wasn’t me anymore.
Let’s get back to the acacia story. I was walking just like the other days, wondering the way to bother my already exhausted soul. When I was passing the backside of the school, a deep fragrance from the tree pressed me down. I raised my head, and saw the acacia tree shining brightly as the sun rises. A beautiful song from my earphones started to be heard. Paintings of Chagall in the very corner of my mind started to move. From such a trivial thing like holding up my head and watching an acacia tree, I could find myself again.
Still, I was a high school student, and still, I had to run the endless highway of competition. It seemed like nothing has changed, but I changed. I am still running, but I now can raise my head and see the acacia tree when in hard times. I now know that I can just stop running and start to walk for a moment, humming. And I now know how to run together with the people beside me, hand by hand, as I stopped and started to look around.
I started to dream a new dream about my future. Now I know that whenever this race to be acknowledged by other people ends, my another life will begin, and it is not an end of my life when the race ends.
Let me ask you again.
‘Who will you be?’
I hope all of you not to answer this question saying about your job or salaries anymore. Yes, all these competitions may be unavoidable in this society. But while running, I hope you to recognize how beautiful a life is to raise up your head to see sky, scent the fragrance of a flower, and take a rest leaning against a tree. I hope all of you could find your own acacia tree. Thank you.
Yulim Kim is a high school student in Honam Jeil High School in Jeonju. She has a great interest in art and hopes to be an artist who expresses her own feelings.