Since around the middle of last week, the cherry blossoms finally started blooming around Kobe, and with them endless tarps have been laid out with friends, family and food from morning till night. I’ve written before about how in Japan everyone loves getting together during Cherry Blossom season. There is such a feeling of relaxation and of having a good time with good company–of living the “good life” even just for a few hours with cherry blossoms in view.
Of course, there is also the deep feeling of impermanence associated with the season, which Chad and I felt even from the weekend. We were walking along and noticed that although the blossoms just started blooming fully, some of them were already beginning to be replaced with fresh, green leaves! Both of us voiced our sadness at the sight, committing to as much cherry blossom viewing as possible until the season ends.
Our view from Cherry Blossom viewing at lunch near Shin Kobe today.
I was thinking about our feelings of immediacy, of wanting to capture as much as we could in the little time we have. I think we’ve felt that way in cherry blossom seasons before, but I guess knowing this will be our last one while living in Japan makes it a bit more poignant. And I know it’s cliché, but while recognizing the impermanence of the cherry blossoms, I’ve been feeling like it’s so important to appreciate the fragility and fleeting nature of life–even the passing of the joyful moments in life (the birth of a child, making a child laugh, enjoying a vacation, celebrating at a wedding…). Ultimately, considering this short, beautiful season makes me overwhelmed with gratitude (and at the same time, a little sad). I’m so thankful for even the smallest joys each day.
“What a strange thing!
to be alive
beneath cherry blossoms.”
― Kobayashi Issa, Poems
What little (or big) joy are you appreciating today?