The Flowers Have Gone

There were showers of garlands everywhere – garlands of fresh flowers and plastic ones, few have notes with message like “Congratulations!” or “Happy graduation!”.  But I could not smell the fragrance of these flowers for the day was hot, the heat of dry ground and the occasional gust of fine dust fouled the air. Nonetheless, nothing could stop the festivity as sweaty faces smiled to each flash of the camera. 

Yes, it was the graduation day for my students, and the 32nd commencement exercises for the university.  I was waiting for my students near the entrance of the gymnasium, and the chatters of my colleagues , their faces beaming with pride and excitement as well, put more joviality in the atmosphere. But I was not hearing them for soon, the processional march would start and I vowed to myself to take a good picture of my students in their most awaited day. I looked at my watch. Very soon.

A light breeze blew and the flowers of the acacia trees fell and drifted through the humid air. Ah, they were not exactly flowers but the tree’s seeds with their parachute-like hairs. It was a beautiful sight and the acacia trees that lined the road must have celebrated with them… 

These students were the fourth batch of graduates that I would be witnessing. They were truly special for me because I had been their instructor for three or four years, and they were my first students. I failed some of them, had some hard times with them, but through it all, we managed to go along well and leave each other fond memories. 

Wednesday night last week, they invited us faculty to their “pre-graduation” celebration and “tribute to teachers” party. It was really very sweet of them for they presented us a plaque of appreciation, their simple heart-warming token of gratitude to us. This thing does not happen every day – being thanked for doing your job. There may not be enough compensation, materially and financially, in the academe but being able to help shape these peoples’ lives is enough reward. They may not realize this but they are my true inspiration in doing my best in my job. I suppose I have done well for they have done so well. And I can only hope that wherever life is taking them, they will be as great as they had been… 

Finally, I heard the processional music and from a distance, the parade came to my view. My heart leaped and I immediately prepared my camera. Another breeze blew by and another shower of flowers sprayed. I looked up and saw the flowers dancing, driven by the wind into another place. Into a place where they shall thrive again. Into much larger and greener fields.

I watched the incoming graduates. Like flowers, they have come, and gone…

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