“Between our two lives
there is also the life of
the cherry blossom.”
The cherry blossoms grace our lane ways and gardens, welcoming April, the month that was, in ancient Rome, sacred to Venus, the goddess of love and beauty. April is the month that gave us Leonardo da Vinci, William Shakespeare, William Wordsworth and, more recently, Wangari Maathai, Maya Angelou and Ella Fitzgerald. There is a warmth in the chill of an April evening, perfect for the beginning of journeys as immortalized in Geoffrey Chaucer’s, The Canterbury Tales.
“What a strange thing!
to be alive
beneath cherry blossoms.”
For me, April has always been about cherry blossoms. Vancouver is renowned for our approximately 50,000 cherry trees, which flower in varying shades of pink and white. Every year, we hold a Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival.
“In the cherry blossom’s shade
there’s no such thing
as a stranger.”
The cherry blossom is Japan’s national flower that has given birth to hanami, a century-old custom that is said to have its origins in the Nara period (710-794) which simply means flower viewing. Families and friends gather under the canopy of flowering cherry trees to share a meal and gaze up at the delicate white and pink against a pristine sky of blue. Nighttime brings out the paper lanterns that people carefully place in the trees to add a spectacular illumination, which highlights the profound idea of the ephemeral nature of life. The blossoms come for a moment to bestow a graceful elegance, covering pathways with petals, then, slipping away with the silent promise to return the next year.
So, my dear friends, I invite you to join me under the canopy of a Vancouver cherry tree.
“Cherry blossoms – lights of years past.”