Therese Park

Ready to Greet Eternal Spring

Eternal spring

In his poem The Preludes, Victor Hugo expresses his sense of nostalgia about his youth as an old man as well as his anticipation of approaching death.

Winter is on my head but eternal spring is in my heart
I breathe… the fragrance of lilacs, violets, and roses as twenty years ago
The closer I approach to the end the plainer I hear
The symphonies of the world that invite me.

For those who have no clue what “winter” means also don’t understand the “eternal spring” the French thinker, essayist, and novelist talks about. Eternal spring has something to do with the fragrance of the flowers in one’s memory, and a time when everything looked green and promising. Eternal spring for Hugo was a time for longing and reflection.
I too think about the spring time of my life.
After my retirement from the Kansas City Symphony in the late 1990’s where I had played cello for 30 years, I thought I was done with music and stumbled into many hobbies, including pottery. Though I’ve enjoyed working with clay and I received a few ribbons from local art show organizers over the years and a talent scholarship from a community college, my heart wasn’t with clay. There was something missing. Was it because my sense of nostalgia for my days as a musician has its grip on me? After all, music was my first love.
Wouldn’t a retired soldier have the same sense of duty to his country as he did as a young soldier? Wouldn’t a sailor hear the ocean waves calling him back even after he had settled on land? An old musician wanting to play music again is the sign that eternal spring is in his/​her heart.
The difficult passages you’ve practiced over and over until your fingertips hurt would suddenly wake you in the middle of the night, demanding to know whether you can still play them. When you hear a familiar melody on the radio while driving, you’d see the green Bohemian hills or the sparkling Rhine River or the thick Vienna woods that had inspired the composer to write, through your windshield, instead of the flat Kansas landscape.
I missed playing cello and missed listening to the works of great composers echo through the walls of the concert halls we had performed.
Today, I took my cello from the closet where it had been collecting dust since 1997, changed the strings, and made some adjustment, and we were reunited, the cello and me. After a few hours of playing scales, etudes, arpeggios, I decided that I can still play. My fingers are still limber and responsive to the music’s demand. They might not quite make 70 MPH on the fingerboard the way they used to years ago but 55 MPH is no problem. The fact that I will be playing with a community orchestra, not a professional one this time, wouldn’t bother me because, while playing, I will be able to get a glimpse of the composer’s world at the time he wrote the music, and maybe even hear his message of hope, love, and yearning for peace through the notes and rests.
A few years of playing music will enrich my remaining years here on earth, and as I get older, I am sure I’ll hear the symphonies of the world that is waiting for me. But for now, all I want to dwell on is the fact that my “end” wouldn’t be here soon and that my eternal spring fills me with a sense of wellbeing.

The Kansas City Star
"Heartland Honor Flight is all about showing our gratitude to those who fought for our country's freedom," the president John Doole says.
During the Korean War, long segregation in the U.S. military ended.
"To win, you must know your enemy," wrote Chinese Ancient General Sun-Tzu (544-496 B.C.)
...their beloved country in whose honor they defended my helpless homeland in the Far East six decades ago has become my own beloved motherland.
To the parishioners at Curé of Ars Catholic Church in Leawood, their pastor is a healer, confessor, teacher and compassionate friend who rejoices with them at happy times and grieves with them at times of loss and injury.
“The truth about Jesus Christ reached Korean soil in 1784," Pope John Paul II said during the canonization of 103 Korean Martyrs in 1984. In a most marvelous way, divine grace moved your ancestors first to an intellectual quest for the truth of God’s word and then to a living faith in the risen Christ..."
During the trip to Korea together, our mother-daughter roles were reversed. My daughter seemed to think that I needed her care, not the other way around.
The Kansas City Philharmonic enriched the lives of many during its 49 years.
Martin Luther King Jr.'s Messages on Violence
A Korean Grandma and her American Grandkids
Average people made the world we live in today.
Albert Schweitzer said, “You must give some time to your fellow man. Even if it’s a little thing…for which you get no pay but the privilege of doing it.”
Pilgrims are everywhere here on the square of the Basilica of Our Lady, some are walking on their knees and some are kneeling at the glass-walled Chapel of Apparition where the Blessed Virgin appeared to three shepherd children in 1917.
Woodcarvers find fun, therapy and friendship
Behind a tough cookie, there's a culture that nourished her soul
Not biting is a sign of appreciation
After Tucsan shooting rampage
Without a healthy brain, one cannot live a healthy life
Thomas Jefferson once said, “The tree of liberty must be watered with the blood of patriots.”
Gen. Douglas MacArthur said, "In War, there is no substitute for victory."
Gratitude is not only the greatest of all virtues but the parent of all others.
Our home became a church when homeless priests and nuns moved in with us.
Victor Hugo's view of his old age
Forgetfulness comes with aging
Learning is for all ages.
Mixture of feelings about seeing Amercans' departure from my country Korea
Foreigner's view of today's China
The "Wake up call" isn't only for Chinese parents but for all American parents.
The Korean War isn't "Forgotten"
I once had compassion for all caged birds. But since I became a bird-owner, my opinion about them has changed.
South Korea today gives thanks to all American troops who fought to preserve its peace at the cost of their lives.
The Kansas City Star Commentary 9/20/14
My first visit to Fort Leavenworth as a guest of LTC Kim Kwang-soo, South Korean Liaison Officer to the U.S. Military
Pope John Paul II was the first pope to visit South Korea in 1984--to canonize 103 Korean martyrs
The seeds of the Church is the blood of the martyrs.
Column/ Kansas City Star
Father Emil Kapaun: recipient of Medal or Honor 2013
The U.S. government purchased Alaska in 1867 for only $7.2 million dollars from Russia, that includes 500 million acres of land with 3 million streams full of fish and otters, and tall snow-capped mountains providing shelter for bears, moose, mountain sheep and more.
The Best Times
He liberated music from a cloistered form set by earlier composers...
The racial discrimination the white American inflicted upon their black neighbors.
Magazine Article
Traditional Chinese medical doctors have been using bird-nests for centuries to treat respiratory ailments such as asthma and bronchitis, to rejuvenate skin, and to boost energy for both young and old.
It takes courage to deal with the human condition called "aging."
Feature article
Inchon Landing was one of the most successful operations in modern military history.
Magazine Articles
Korean War Prisoner-of War Story