Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Cherry Blossoms, Time to Celebrate!

Sometimes, during spring I'll see cars driving around that are covered with cherry blossom petals. Sometimes, I will look out the window in Spring and for a split second I will think it is snowing before I realize it is the wind blowing cherry blossoms loose from tree branches. 

In Seattle, we have lots of cherry blossom trees. It happens quickly. It will be cold and dreary. It feels like winter will never end, then suddenly, there are trees fully covered with fluffy pink flowers. Usually, after the cherry blossoms bloom, the worst of winter is officially behind us. Around this time, you see lots of Seattlites taking cliched pictures of cherry blossoms against blue skies (ahem, see above for evidence of this practice. Every year I always take a similar series of cherry blossom pictures, and I always love how they turn out!) The beauty of pink blossoms against blue skies never gets old. It is such a hopeful and refreshing sight after the infinity of gray, bare branched winters.

I read about a tradition in Japan called Hanami. It seems similar to what people do in New England in the united states where people go watch the leaves change color in the fall, but instead during Hanami, people have lavish picnics under the cherry blossom trees. They also sing cherry blossom songs while they watch the beauty of the cherry blossoms. It is a celebration that is all about having reverence for the cherry blossoms. Everyone treats the trees with respect. No one picks cherry blossom bouquets or carves their initials into the trunks of the trees. Also, according to the article I read about it, while celebrating the cherry blossom trees, you should take a moment to contemplate the fragility of life and how existence is fleeting. Hanami sounds like a really beautiful celebration. It seems like the sort of celebration where people are inspired by nature to appreciate the great adventure of being alive. 

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