Ligo haibun has furnished us with two quotes to choose from which had been pronounced by the great spiritual and revolutionary leader, Mohandas Gandhi, I’ve chosen this one to try to write for:
“Whatever you do may seem insignificant, but it is most important that you do it.”
Jane was decidedly a “foresta” in the Trentino dialect – an outsider. She’d lived in the small mountain village for about a year, and outside of a bright hello from her and a solemn reply by passersby, she’d made no headway in becoming a part of the village life. Conversation would stop when she came into the local shop and people would look at her, without looking at here.
She’d traveled throughout the world and rarely found it difficult to integrate, at least minimally, into a community before then. On the other hand this had been her first experience in a closed mountain community. There had been one other outsider who’d lived in the village for 30 years, but she’d heard people refer to him as “the foresta” the day he died by some people in the local café, so she figured she’d always be an outsider to them.
Be that as it may, she decided at least to try to deepen her friendship with the few people who’d opened enough with her to talk for a couple of minutes.
It was Christmas and she thought she’d create an American custom. She baked up several dozen cookies and a few cakes, wrapped them in boxes and went to the houses of those more open villagers with her offering on Christmas Eve morning.
When the first person opened her door and saw Jane standing there with the brightly wrapped Christmas package in her hands smiling and saying: “Merry Christmas!” the lady almost gawked in surprise. She invited Jane into her home and offered her a cup of coffee.
“I sure wasn’t expecting a gift Ms Jane. I’m afraid I didn’t get you anything.” she said a little embarrassed.
“Oh, that’s no problem at all!” Jane smiled, “This is an American custom. We always make Christmas baking gifts to offer people who’ve made a mark in our life during the year! We don’t do it to receive a gift, you know what they say, it’s better to give than receive!”
“Why that’s a fine tradition!” the lady said.
As she went from door to door visiting her neighbors, a feeling of warmth grew inside her. She was so happy to see the smiles of surprise on their faces and realized the truth of her words about gift giving. She decided that being a “foresta” wasn’t such a bad thing to be, it was something that distinguished her.
She went to bed early contented. It’d been a long day, she was tired but in a glowing sort of way.
The next morning at 11:00 her door bell rang …. and from that year forward the village had a new Christmas tradition.
trees and a forest
divided but one
under winter skies
Written for Ligo Haibun – Quote Prompt