Sunday, April 28, 2019

farewell to this year's cherry blossom


Early on Saturday morning, the windy edge of Storm Hannah buffeted the blossom trees. Laura lamented that all her wild cherry blossoms were gone, having maintained (for a few days) a rare overlap with the Clematis montana that grows through the tree, making a lovely contrast. Of course we forgot to photograph it.

I have mixed feelings about Housman, despite "Loveliest of trees, the cherry now", but I couldn't help thinking of these lines from another poem:

The chestnut casts his flambeaux, and the flowers
Stream from the hawthorn on the wind away....

There's one spoilt spring to scant our mortal lot,
One season ruined of your little store...

The word "spoilt" might, you feel, be better applied to the speaker. His kneejerk reaction of "ruined" is silly, I suppose, but still, who has not felt it?

Cherry blossoms are actually remarkably tenacious against wind, so long as the tree still needs them. Those that fell on Saturday morning were quite ready to fall, from the tree's point of view. It's only us observers who feel cheated of a few more days. And, tranquilly or tempestuously, the blossom season always ends.

"Tied to the Buddhist themes of mortality, mindfulness and living in the present, Japanese cherry blossoms are a timeless metaphor for human existence. Blooming season is powerful, glorious and intoxicating, but tragically short-lived — a visual reminder that our lives, too, are fleeting."

(Helen, quoted from https://notwithoutmypassport.com/cherry-blossom-meaning-in-japan/ )

Still, I was determined to squeeze the last drops, so early this morning I went to Bradford-on-Avon, remembering the uplifting glimpse of a Shôgetsu I drove past on Friday. But when I found it, I was reluctant to believe it was the same tree, so thoroughly had it been stripped. It was also much further from the pavement than I'd supposed, and none of my photos were worth keeping.

Disconsolately returning, I remembered about the young Shirofugen in the unwelcoming village of Wingfield and stopped to have a look. It was coming to the end of blossoming, but this miraculous variety keeps on unfolding new glories. So in the chilly breeze beside the fast road I felt that I could say a proper farewell to cherry-blossom.

But my best picture, maybe, was a casual snap of opening hawthorn blossom in a hedge. Nature flows and we are meant to flow with it.

Prunus 'Shirofugen'. Wingfield, 28 April 2019.









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