さくら満開

Yesterday morning; the cherry blossoms that were but promising little buds for weeks, suddenly burst open, covering the entire park outside our dormitory with clouds of muted pinks and whites. When I stepped outside, families were scattered all over the park, cans of peachy alcohol in their hand (and strawberry lemonade in their bags for their children who were more interested in running around than in looking at the flowers).

I snapped a picture of them, but as clouds were thick in the sky, it didn’t do them any justice, and with the promise of rain, I saw my little dream of experiencing the magic of cherry blossoms go up in thin air. This morning on my way to class (and on the way back!), I took another look, and thought to myself “pretty, but..” nothing else. One of the friends I was with, must have seen my face, because they smiled, and said:「見飽きない」”I’m bored of seeing them”. I thought, maybe I’m already bored of them too? A bit disappointing, but then again, I’ve been blown away by so many things in Japan, perhaps the cherry blossoms are just one of those things that gets so hyped up that the actual experience just can not live up to the expectation.

Later that day, after the sun had gone down, I went with Jo for a walk to get some food and a couple of items I needed from the store. It was raining softly, the pitter patter of the drops on the leaves all around us, nobody else around. As we were strolling through the silent park, we too, grew quiet. The light of the lanterns guiding the way shone through the tree branches, making the cherry blossoms stand out, their little petals strong and proud, despite being so fragile. We both let out a sound of awe and surprise, and laughed. “I guess this is why people go to watch them at night,” I said, “they’re beautiful.”. I made a feeble attempt at capturing a picture, but as expected, that didn’t turn out very well.

Walking through these endless rows of blossoming trees, I was struck with the memory of a couple words, a line from a song I hadn’t listened to in almost a decade, yet the melody and soft voices were as clear to me as all those years ago.

「ねえ さくら満開 胸の中
 もう 言葉にならないくらい
 恋の花が満開」

the cherry blossoms are in full bloom in my chest
even more than words can express
the flowers of love are in full bloom

So odd it was to remember, the words suddenly clicking and the cherry blossoms right in front of me, their scent intoxicating in the warm evening. It made a lot of sense to me then, the beauty of cherry blossoms. They’re only here for a short time, but they spread so much joy to people, and manage to make them stop and think, even if only for a moment. Cheesy it may be, but what a powerful thing!

I felt very full of love for these little blossoms, and even though I didn’t get the picture I wanted, maybe that’s exactly the point. It’s a beauty and appreciation that exists in a single moment, and then it’s gone. Gather ye rosebuds while ye may, Old Time is still a-flying; And this same flower that smiles today – Tomorrow will be dying. (Robert Herrick)

A little bit of a reminder to live in the now, to enjoy what’s around you, to take it as it come and not expect it to be a certain way.

     

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