Friday, April 15, 2011

Hanami: everything is transient and therein lies beauty

Japan just had it's cherry blossom (Sakura) viewing season or hanami. In the depths of winter the trees are bare but almost suddenly the flowers burst out but only for a while. The flowers are nice to behold but they are just for a week or so, after which they fall and there lies poignant beauty. This year's hanami is even made more meaningful for the Japanese since it happened just a month or so after the tragic Tohoku earthquake. A thing of beauty is always temporary if it is in a material sense. Human beauty fades no matter how much Vicky Belo promotes her wonders via Jinkee Pacquiao! But what lasts is hidden and immaterial. And the cherry blossoms seem to help people reach out to what is hidden, immaterial and can be seen only by the soul at its dead centre, the heart!

In tropical Philippines where all is green even during the driest seasons, we don't notice the transience of flowers but we do have the Palawan cherry which burst into bloom at almost the same time the Japanese cherry blossoms do. The Palawan cherry is not a true cherry but a legume but has flowers that approximate the Japanese sakura.

And like the Japanese flowers, the Palawan cherry blossoms won't last, when I caught them in the Manila Seedling Bank, they were about to fall in the strong La Nina induced easterly breeze!
And here is an English translation of the first stanza Japan's most famous folk song "Sakura"
Cherry blossoms, cherry blossoms,
Across the Spring sky,
As far as you can see.
Is it a mist, or clouds?
Our life is like a mist and will fade away!

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