This just in! After much anxiety in my own mind I was pleasantly surprised to come across some of my first true autumn leaves today. There is a lovely old buddhist temple in Konodai Chiba that is home to a very old weeping cherry blossom tree. In the spring time it is a favorite spot for photographers and families come and take in the splendor of the waterfall of cherry blossoms. Now we fast forward from spring to autumn and the same beautiful tree is starting to express itself with a display of earthen oranges and reds.
I was so elated to see the cherry blossom tree teasing me with bringing forth such beautiful colors. The location of this magnificent tree must have been protected from the punishing typhoon winds of two weeks ago. In reality, only one part of the tree has started to change its colors. I look forward next week to see the colors engulf the tree in fiery reds.
I thought back to the unnerving anxiety when I last enjoyed the tree in April. It was only a few weeks after the March 11th earthquake and tsunami disaster. Most Tokyo dwellers were quietly observing the cherry blossom. So many Japanese had lost their lives just a few weeks before. Most people felt it was too soon to celebrate. However, my feeling was somewhere in the middle. My heart felt that we needed to mourn those lost, and at the same time we needed to come together as a community and use the beauty of the changing seasons to focus our energies. We needed to lend a helping hand to each other. We needed to sit under a tree with our friends and family and engage in some heartfelt communication.
Where are we as a community now? Has Japan come together to lend those helping hands to each other? Have those conversations that started in spring continued into autumn? I do not have the answers to these questions. I can only offer up my hope and appreciation of the Japanese people to come together and change their country for the better. I am just a humble outsider who loves his adoptive home.
Let the changing of seasons remind us of those that lost their lives. Those brave souls that risked their lives to help others. If we haven’t renewed our own personal commitment to leading a fruitful life it past time to begin.
Take stock in our surroundings. Notice that leaf that yesterday was green yet today it has begun to shift into red. Say hello to your neighbors. Smile at the children on the train. If we don’t the world will just spin on by.