In Washington D.C. they are celebrating the National Cherry Blossom Festival, called the Sakura Festival.
Here at home, there is a fantastic Japanese cherry tree right outside the third and fourth grade classrooms at my son’s Waldorf school. It’s magnificent.
Mrs. M, the Eurhythmy teacher, was inspired to have a little cherry blossom poetry festival with our third grade to celebrate spring. On Friday, the last day of school before spring break, the third graders wrote poems about springtime and cherry trees and hung their poems in the cherry tree.
Cherry blossoms feature heavily in Japanese poetry. The blossoms, sakura, symbolize the beginning of spring, purity, and also a kind of melancholy, for like the blossoms, life is short and beautiful.
The people of Japan have been on all our minds and in our prayers lately, although I’m not sure how aware the third graders are of the recent earthquake and tsunami in Japan. It’s hard to think about it. One tourism website I looked at had this to say: “This year’s cherry blossom season will be overshadowed by the tremendous loss caused by the recent earthquake. However, we believe that the blossoms will serve as symbols of hope and resilience and a source of motivation along Japan’s road to recovery.”
There’s no doubt that these blossoms are exquisite and ephemeral.
Life is such a sweet mixture of joys and pains, celebrations and disappointments, and even exultation and tragedy.
Sometimes it hurts to live life fully; to do so means opening ourselves up to all the beauty and pain around us. It hurts to be human. It is a joy to be human.