If there were no cherry blossoms in the world
My mind would be peaceful
When cherries bloom, the Japanese celebrate the beauty and fleeting nature of life. Not life as a continued existence, or life as an eternal soul. But life as that short moment of seven days where a cherry blossom opens, blooms, and drops its petals to the ground like snowfall. Life that, after blooming, has yielded a fruit and another life.
We Westerners mostly celebrate life without including its end, whatever it may be. Death, or transit to rebirth, is always a separate subject for attention. Standing under the pink cherry blossom boughs I wondered how it would feel to celebrate life, including the brevity of life as we know it. And yet, most of the sakura poetry I have stumbled upon is concerned with that brief moment when a cherry blossom petal falls to the ground. Life is uncertain, and the petal knows no more of its destiny than do we humans of our own fates.
A fallen blossom
Returning to the bough, I thought –
But no, a butterfly
(Hanami festival, Helsinki, Finland; May 2015)