Cherry Blossom brings a lift of heart with an association of springtime, blue skies and birdsong. Adopted around the world these trees are thought to have originated in China and were taken to Japan by Buddhist missionaries in 6th to 7th centuries A.D. Since then, sakura have been highly cultivated and many ornamental varieties created. It was about one thousand years ago that the first double blossom was thought to be bred.
Cherry Blossom for Renewal
How fortunate we all are to be able to experience the inspiration that these trees and their abundant flowers bring. I have spent today researching, meditating and planting cherry trees. How lucky am I? Yet somehow the words do not do this flower justice. The charming, fragile, pale pink to white blossom provides such a sense of encouragement. We are reassured that nature has announced spring’s arrival. There is more to it than just the perfection and abundance of the blossom though. Perhaps it is the fact that we are forced to look up to admire them? As we raise our eyes from the ground, mundane thoughts and our daily cares, we may find that we are contemplating a bigger picture. We become aware of the embracing, blue sky and the joyful birdsong. Is it a coincidence that we imagine heaven is up beyond the clouds?
There is no wonder that the Japanese have a festival called Hanami when the cherries are flowering. ‘Hana’ means flower and ‘mi‘ means see. They meet under the trees for picnics and drinking with family and friends. It is a time of celebration and getting together and it marks the beginning of their new year for school and work.
Cherry Blossom can mean Transience
Yet there is still more. Ornamental cherry trees not only give us reminders of renewal and hope. They are symbols of the transience and frailty of life. The perfect blossom lasts only a few short weeks. It is easily spoiled by wind or rain. These trees are so good for those among us who suffer with anxious or fearful thoughts. They remind us to enjoy today and to try not to worry about tomorrow. All things will pass. Even as the petals fall, they look like confetti floating gently earthwards. They swirl like a delicate and dainty snow shower. It is a Buddhist philosophy that life is impermanent and that it is important to remain in the moment. This makes the shared time beneath the trees and their glorious blossom even more precious.
Ruth Goudy – The Flower Writer