The Rose Garden of Mumba

 Once upon a time, there was a tiger who loved (too much) roses. Do you find that curious? So do I!

The rose is a fragrant, delicate flower that requires a lot of care and love. Yes, it has thorns that protect it from predators; perhaps it is this aspect that attracted the tiger so much. When we think of the word “delicacy”, it is perhaps not the image of a tiger that comes first, and yet …

Like every year, it was Hanami. Hanami means “to look at the beauty of the flowers”. (I think we should all do Hanami for a few minutes a day, but that’s just my opinion).


It is a Japanese custom to enjoy the beauty of flowers, but mainly cherry blossoms. Have you ever seen a cherry tree in bloom? It’s so beautiful and graceful; it’s pink and it smells good. Just one look and you feel overwhelmed with joy and elation. We feel like being frivolous; taking off our clothes and running naked between these trees! Well, I’m getting a little lost, but you understand what I mean! It’s like eating, smelling and touching a huge cotton candy at the same time!

In the city, one could feel the imminent effervescence due to the approach of this flowering. Mumba continued to take care of his roses with the greatest of delicacy and was very eager to welcome the visitors of Hanami and present them with his greatest pride. Every morning, at dawn, he visite is flowers like a loving doctor visit his patients. He made sure that each of his roses received the best possible care. He paid attention to the texture and color of the petals; he removed faded flowers and yellowed leaves. The rose garden of Mumba was the most beautiful in the region. It was intimate and well organized. Two rows of roses of different varieties and colors as well as some rose beds placed in a circle around a small bench where it was good to rest.

That morning, faithful to his habits, he went to his rose garden to do his flower tour. No sooner had he arrived than he sensed that something was wrong; he approached a blue-green rosebush and saw that several leaves were blackened. He thought it was mold, oh no! This can spread very quickly and over the entire plant. He immediately removed these few blackened leaves and made sure that it was the only rose that was affected. It seemed to him that it was. (For the moment at least…)

He devoted the rest of his day to maintaining the premises and pruning the lawn, as many people would be coming to admire his haven in a few days.

The next morning, when he opened the small decorative door that served as a barrier, he stopped dead in his tracks. His heart made four turns in his chest and he felt his knees soften… A big hot flush came over him and he rubbed his eyes to make sure he wasn’t dreaming. Unfortunately, he was not dreaming! Half of the roses had blackened leaves! What a catastrophe! (OMG!)

But how could this have happened, he who day after day, applied himself to the task and was so 

He felt the tears coming to his eyes and went to sit down on the small bench in the middle of the rose garden. He replayed in his head each of the gestures he had made to each rosebush over the last few days, but nothing seemed abnormal to him. He got up and went and crouched down beside a small yellow rose whose leaves were particularly blackened. He took a leaf and began to observe the black spots. On the back of the leaf, he saw a large beetle that seemed to be sleeping. He gave it a flick to wake it up.

– Hey, ho! What the hell! I’m sleeping,” replied the beetle in a bad mood.

– Ah yes, well it’s time to wake up! I want some explanations. I want to know why and especially how you and your dirty friends have damaged my rose garden said Mumba in rage!

– Calm down, Mr. Tiger! Who tells you that these blackened leaves are the fault of me and my people?

– It’s definitely your fault, you damn beetle! All you do is eat and destroy! You have no compassion for anything!

– That’s your opinion because you’re angry! Yet you like us when we eat the worms, caterpillars and other pests in your garden.

– Maybe you should take a closer look. Maybe you should ask yourself what you’re doing here that’s a pest!

– Me, says the tiger! I’m a pest here! You are completely crazy!

– You’re growing roses for your own pleasure, for your own satisfaction, because roses don’t grow here in Japan. You have organized your garden in a circle so that you can walk around the flowers. And then, every day, you cut, trim and remove leaves or branches that are not to your liking! Roses, usually in nature, grow in all directions until they find a support to lean on. Here, you put them in your hand.

– OK, OK, it’s true that I cut, remove and equalize each plant, but it’s so that they look beautiful; that they look their best.

– And in whose eyes? Yours, of course! Because for us it makes no difference if one branch stick out over the other or if a flower is withered and will soon detach itself from its stem.

– Yes, but that’s how you create a beautiful rose garden. The rose has been cultivated this way for centuries. That’s the way it is… For centuries the maintenance of a rose garden has been done this way; cutting, levelling and removing…

– You want to know my real opinion friend? Your flowers, they’re sick of you! They are rebelling against your rules; your standards of care and gardening!

– And what do I do now?

– Well… Nothing!

– What? What? Nothing?

– Yes, nothing as in nothing to do! Take it easy! Run yourself a nice hot bath and read a book.

– Yes, but in a couple of days, there will be a lot of people coming here and…

– Do you like your roses?

– Yes of course!

– Then, trust them,” he says with a wink. Okay, and now I’m going to go back to relaxing now. And don’t forget, do nothing! Do nothing! Do nothing! 

– Do nothing? Like a beetle?! But I’m a tiger! I pounce, I run and I roar in the face of hardship! I fight and protect my people in front of life’s obstacles. I don’t just sit and do nothing!

– Well, you’ll have to learn! Here, for example, you could try meditation. 

– Meditation? But I told you, I’m a tiger!

– And so Mr. Tiger Mumba, are you going to deny yourself the chance to try something new just based on the old principle that everything should remain static and be done the same way?

Mumba took a long breath and in an uncertain tone said: OK, OK, I’ll give your method a chance.

– Great! I’m happy you are opening your mind, said the beetle!

For the next few hours, Mumba tried to breathe; to be aware of his breathing. He was surprised to appreciate the sound of soft music and let himself be carried away by the different vibrations of it. He read and took several relaxing baths. Little by little, a form of inner serenity began to invade his heart. The more the hours passed, the more he felt wrapped in a cocoon of softness. He felt his confidence increase and his anxiety vanish. Quietly, he let go and accepted the idea of the new, the unknown. To have faith that things will happen; that they will always happen for the best, starting now.

The Hanami was a huge success that year. The roses were more than radiant according to the multitude of visitors. It was as if a magical cloud had taken up residence above a rose garden, where a tiger with the help of a beetle friend had opened the portal of his heart to new possibilities.