Fiery Trees

There’s a lot of poetry outdoors. I noticed this as I was taking a brisk walk with my ma around her neighborhood one morning. We found many flamboyant trees at the park, which excited my ma. She called them semarak api, which beautifully translates into “heaps of fire.” I thought the name really suited them. The flowers were fierce in color— all scarlet with smatterings of blood-orange. When in full bloom, they’d appear on fire if seen from a distance. The trees brought her back to the time when she was a child growing up in the rubber estate. The buds contained mouthful of liquid before becoming flowers. With imagination, my ma and her childhood friends turned them into water guns. I thought the story was fascinating— children in the past (or living in the countryside) would cleverly hook nature into their little games. Perhaps one day, I hope to teach my children this simple game crafted by their grandmother.

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