The cherry blossom season from March to mid-April is a relatively short and brilliantly beautiful beginning of spring. Cherry blossoms are the quintessential expression of Mono no aware. It’s the Japanese aesthetic concept that highlights awareness of the inherent transience and impermanence of all things. The custom of hanami dates back many centuries in Japan: the eighth-century chronicle Nihon Shoki (日本書紀) records hanami festivals being held as early as the third century CE — Cherry Blossom And, while we Westerners think about death and rebirth in the fall, the Japanese think about death and rebirth in the spring.
When it comes to my husband’s new position, travel comes with the territory. His days away aren’t that frequent but they do add up. And as much as I do like being alone this has been a major adjustment for us. When he’s away I’m working very long hours and I don’t have time to blog. When he is home there are continuous demands on his private time and we both found ourselves resenting the ring of the phone.
Those who don’t live balanced lives don’t experience health and wellness. I was in quarantine with Shingles last month and felt like seeing some different views from those just outside my windows. When March arrived I didn’t want to spend our precious time together talking about business or anything related to schedules and appointments. I wanted to get away and enjoy leisurely time alone – time for conversation, good dining and tender intimate moments. So I suggested we take a short trip to the big island to reconnect without telling anyone we were going.
The characteristic ornamental cherry trees from Japan (30 flowering species) are very popular on the coastal islands and on the British Columbia mainland too. Everywhere we went we witnessed the beginning of the brief blossom season. We visited a Botanical Garden and a Japanese Garden and spent a relaxing afternoon strolling down a path lined with ornamental cherries on both sides as we discussed cherry blossoms (impermanence). We also visited an area of interesting small shops and my husband bought me a lovely pink silk scarf in one of them. Then we enjoyed a great vegetarian dinner and a scenic drive and ferry ride home.
Though for six years I have blogged through the seasons, since March began in the free time I have I have not been inclined to blog. Instead I have been painting sakura, writing haiku and visualizing what it will be like when my health is recovered and I’m “in the pink again”.
Traditional Japanese haiku always contain a season word and cherry blossoms are a symbol of spring. Haiku itself is deceptively simple–3 lines: 5 syllables in the first, seven in the second, five in the third, for seventeen in total. But it’s much more than that. I’m a haiku lover and if you haven’t read Harold G. Henderson’s An Introduction to Haiku then please consider putting it on your reading list. Henderson brings the extended layers of meanings of the words across. These are not mere literal translations–they work on multiple levels to extend the meaning of the poetry.
The seasonal theme
Each Haiku must contain a kigo, a season word, which indicate in which season the Haiku is set. For example, cherry blossoms indicate spring, snow indicates winter, and so on, but the season word isn’t always that obvious.
To cherry blooms I come,
and under the blossoms go to sleep –
no duties to be done!
Live in simple faith…
Just as this simple cherry,
Flower, fades and falls.
As bell tones fade,
blossom scents take up the ringing –
Painting : Cherry Blossom Tree
Cherry Blossoms: A Metpahor for Life
Fie! This fickle world!
Three days, neglected cherry branch…
And you are bare
I associate spring with new beginnings, birth, rebirth and budding as plants and flowers form new leaves and flowers, animals return, and the weather becomes warmer. Spring, is a time for natural rebirth, reproduction among animals, etc. To me spring symbolizes the awakening of life, and positive change.
- What do you associate with spring?
- What does spring symbolize to you?
- Is there a flower that symbolizes the arrival of spring to you?