There they are again. Sakura blossoms. Coming out again this year just like they did last year and the year before... and hundreds, maybe even thousands of years before that.
Taking over a small mountain village, a well-worn pathway... or all of Tokyo.
And that was what was so magical about them. Yes, visiting a place like Kyoto or Nara that is filled with sakura blossoms is a beautiful experience.
But there's something completely magical about seeing your own city transformed into something else. Witnessing it become bathed in a pink haze, and littered with tiny pinkish-white flecks everywhere. To see all of the different shades of grey you are so used to, the slick dark pavements, the trim, tidy grey suits of the salary men... to see all of that suddenly speckled in pink, to have a sudden shower of tiny blossoms floating down from the sky, getting on everything - the windshield of your taxi, the shoulder of your trim and tidy suit as you're hurrying to get to a meeting. Your hair, your briefcase, your lunch...
The sakura don't care about all of that. It's time for them to blossom, and so they do. With abandon and joy.
I imagine the blossoms don't care much for things like Covid-19 restrictions either, and when I think about Tokyo now, I imagine lots of delicate, tissue-paper-thin petals making a mockery of the face masks they land on.
There is something very important about an old society, a culture that has withstood millenia, and that carries with it knowledge of how things have been for a very long time.
I sometimes wonder how much of American stupidity is simply the result of our being a very young country and culture. That we are like a brazen teenager stumbling out into the world with too much confidence and too little information.
I suspect that in some of the older cultures, there is a knowledge that is passed down, or contained in parts of the culture itself, a knowledge about how the world was long before the current members of society were in it. And if that is true, then I imagine that that knowledge must give some comfort.
Sakura season is what I'm talking about. Each year, it gives us some very important information:
1. That we, humans, are part of nature. And that nature is bigger than us. That no matter how important that meeting is that you are rushing to, those little pink blossoms are still going to stick to your shoulder;
2. That if we choose to live with nature, and not to fight it - if instead of chopping down all the cherry trees because their blossoms are messy and might get on our suits and our windshields, we choose to fill our cities with them - the results can be more overwhelmingly beautiful than anyone could have ever imagined;
3. Nature endures. Beauty endures. Life endures.
This past year has been an unprecedented assault on life, on humanity, on human beings, by some very very dark forces. But those forces have not stopped the sakura from blooming.
The masks, the lockdowns, even the vaccines and the whole twisted pharmaceutical paradigm that seems so omnipotent... it's all temporary.
Sakura is here to stay.