Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Cherry Trees, Indifference and Prosperity

I like to keep a record of my cherry tree. It was a birthday present given to me more than ten years ago and now it's grown very tall. Every year I like to take a photograph when it's in full bloom and I try to catch the moment just before the wind detaches the blossom from the branches. The tree is associated with Spring and all that this season implies for the cycle of birth and death. In Japan, the scattering of cherry blossom symbolises a kind of indifference to the so-called good things of the world. It's life and death, all in one breath. But it remains a sign of prosperity. The amount of blossom presages and predicts the size and quality of the rice harvest, which takes place in Japan shortly thereafter. This variety of cherry is not the ornamental size like its sisters in the street. It's a full blooded tree and it intends to be massive. I recall how disappointed I was one year when I couldn't be here through March to April. I missed the whole thing from start to finish, but what I missed most was the scattering of a multitude of tiny white leaves across my neighbourhood. So many trees have been cut down lately, I am pleased we planted this one, because a tree symbolises life. The needless felling of trees represents exactly the opposite.