plastic flowers

Intertwined: Urban and Nature of the Pink Cherry Blossom Madness

Saturday, April 10th, 2010

I have been struggling to understand the Japanese obsession with the coming of the cherry blossoms for years.  People stare in amazement at the lovely pink and white blossoms that fill the heavens in late March to early April.

Some celebrate the coming of the blossoms to express their joy in Bacchus self abandonment.  Drinking themselves until they lay motionless under the trees they came out to enjoy.  Families gather for yearly portraits under the flowers.

Today as I was riding my bicycle thought the falling pink petals I was puzzled trying to come to a realization of why there is so much commotion of with the pink madness.  I remembered what I had asked my wife if she had ever seen cherry blossom trees out in the wild and she answered NO.  Therefore her and many others experience of the blossoms has been though the lens of an urban landscape.  I think this is the key to my satori.

That the cherry blossoms are a way for people to connect with their earthen roots.  Their roots that go back to when Japanese society was a purely agricultural society before they industrialized.  By standing in awe of the natural beauty of the flowers they can touch part of their spirit that has faded as Japan has stepped into the industrial age.

So, now I can stare up and see the urban concrete jungle of daily Tokyo intertwined with the branches cherry blossoms.  All merging into a beauty that only comes around for a couple of weeks each year.

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