We bask in the burning sun no longer shadowed by trees or softened by layers of cloud and dust. We relish the heat and gloat of our strength.
"I can bare the sun."
"Look how weak its rays dart forth."
The palm tree dries its delicate arms, and the willow falls with a final exhalation.
Man doth need no shade, for a strong man weathers the sun. A great mountain boasts before the wailing shimmer, and the roses soak up the heat at their leisure.
"I am my own person."
"I am strong and independent."
"I don't need anyone."
But the roses cry without the rain, and the mountain crumbles before the trembling earth below.
The sun withers them all alike. It burns the fields and torches cities. It churns and wails and scorches the lilies.
Oh man. Poor man. How do you plead? For you built no well you lonely sinner. You lie in pain, but you cut down your shade.
You need the sun. You need the rain. You need the shelter, the friend, and the pain.
The rose was born for your pleasure and the sun to keep you warm.
So, sob in the rain, but the palm was born for shelter. Burn in the heat, but the willow reaches out.
As an American, I know who deeply ingrained independence is in our culture. We live and breath for the strongest individualism. We uphold the self-made man. We praise the single mother who made it all on her own. And these are wonderful success stories, but they should bring us to tears!
As an American who travels a lot and has lived in multiple communal cultural contexts, I understand the need for one another. I understand the baffled looks when I explain Americans habits to pay each other back to the cent. I understand the pain in my friend's hearts when they hear me talk about the beauty of a strong and independent American. They hurt. They see pain for me. They see immense loss for my American brothers and sisters. How could anyone want to be so independent?
As a guy who met a girl, who thought he loved a girl, who was told by this girl after dating for some time that she was "just too independent - always having one foot in and one foot out - afraid of commitment - wanting to make her own way in life..." I understand the pain too.
I am the willow of this story. Millions of people in Asian and African cultures would see themselves as the willow in this story. And my poem is to Western culture. More specifically, to America. Most specifically, to you.