Sunday, April 12, 2015

Cherry Blossom I

Tens of thousands of people pour into DC for the peak of cherry blossom. Every smile tells the enjoyment of human beings on exalted cherry trees, gift from Japan in 1912. Over the one hundred years, generations of people explore the happiness and comfort from the gift of trees. 

Hand-colored photograph taken several years after the March 27, 1912 gift of cherry trees from the mayor of Tokyo to the city of Washington. (Photo: Library of Congress)

A pleasant walk around the Tidal Basin during the 1920s with cherry blossoms. (Photo: Library of Congress) 

Though most people indulge in the ardent massive beauty of cherry trees, few know that cherry (in Japanese name, Sakura) also symbolizes the Japanese spirit. As well captured in the Japanese saying, "To find the soul of Japan, look at the cherry trees under the sunshine."  (欲问大和魂,朝阳底下看樱花)

According to Japanese Buddhist traditions, falling sakura petals represent the impermanence of life. Sakura petals only live a week. They bloom brilliantly and fall with the wind. The beauty of falling sakura has been the topic of countless Japanese poems and songs. (the topic will be discussed in another article "Yozakura 夜桜 ")

In these spring days,
when tranquil light encompasses
the four directions,
why do the blossoms scatter
with such uneasy hearts?
Ki no Tomonori (c. 850 – c. 904)

Photographed by Jennie Bai.
Copyright ©Jennie Bai. All Rights Reserved.

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