The Perfect Cherry Blossom

To the Japanese, the cherry blossom is a symbol of the ephemeral – a bud that turns into a beautiful flower and then quickly fades and the petals drop to the ground, often the same day. They are reminded that such beauty is not lasting and the beauty only remains in the memory.  It is a philosophy that permeates their culture:  Beauty that that is one blink away from perfection, a life that is one breath away from death, love that is one kiss away from fulfillment, joy that is one heartbeat away from sorrow. 

My tagline is from Issa:  “There are no strangers beneath the cherry tree.”  We are all one together in our fleeting existence; we are one as we stand beneath the tree in full bloom and gaze upward at its glorious vision of pink; we are all relieved of the rain as we stand beneath it for shelter; we gaze at the moon through its bare branches in winter and sigh at its luminous glow in the black sky. 

In “The Last Samurai”, Katsumoto sought the perfect cherry blossom.  It was only at his dying, as he looked up at the cherry blossoms above him that he said, “Perfect. They are all perfect.”  Whether at that moment, all the blossoms above him were at that perfect stage or either, he realized, that their being, in and of themselves, were perfect, I do not know.  However, that is what I prefer to think – that the blossoms, in whatever stage they were:  bud, blooming, full blown, faded….were perfect.  They were as they should be just at that moment.

 My blog identity, Kanzen Sakura, means, “perfect cherry blossom”.  At least, I hope so.  My Latin is much better than my Japanese.  If it doesn’t mean “perfect cherry blossom”, please don’t tell me.  Let me live in my illusion that I got something right.  Because you see, I feel that whatever state I am in:  joyful, mourning, pensive, angry, cynical, full of faith, blooming,  fading: I am perfect – I am in the stage I should be at that time. 

We all strive for something and rarely realize, we are as we should be; that we are all ephemeral – we are not strangers beneath the cherry tree of life.  Sometimes when I am roaming around at night outside, or doing something in the yard with my husband, I look around.  I smell the autumn-summer-winter-spring aromas.  The bare limbs-delicate pale green leaves-the lush dark green leaves-the parti-coloured autumn quilt of the trees:  I sigh deeply and tell my husband “These are the good old days.”.  He looks at me as if I was crazy and doesn’t quite comprehend, but he does understand that I have gone to a place he can’t go and chooses to smile at me instead of trying to follow.  He respects my territory under the cherry tree.

 It doesn’t mean we should stop searching or dreaming.  But sometimes…….The perfect cherry blossom?  Hold out your hand and grasp the air in front of you.  You are holding the perfect cherry blossom.

10 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Enchanted Seashells, Confessions of a Tugboat Captain's Wife
    May 21, 2015 @ 23:28:29

    when my son starts teaching at Univ of Wash, he’ll be lucky enough to see the famous cherry trees next spring; hopefully I can visit him then and see them too! Lovely.


  2. Moony
    Mar 21, 2017 @ 14:14:50

    I loved that movie, and indeed, it was exactly Kasumoto’s last words that brought me to your blog, which I am glad for. This was a beautiful post, and a pleasure to read. xx


  3. Random Black Guy
    Dec 03, 2017 @ 06:07:19

    Immortality, perhaps, lies in how painfully the ephemarality of a peculiar beauty haunts us untiringly.
    I’m 30, now, and I’m so much different from the roistering boy who knew all of life’s answers because I questioned nothing. Now I have discovered the emblematic cherry trees and their universal connotation on the transients of life. I read your article, I enjoyed it immensely, it was fortuitously boon for me. Thank you


    • kanzensakura
      Dec 03, 2017 @ 09:16:10

      Thank you for reading. The Japanese have a concept in their lives called mujo. It means change: change in the seasons, in our lives, in the skies…constant change. They celebrate the cherry blossom because if its transient beauty and the brevity of it. The cherry blooms and the blooms die by sunset. I have changed since I wrote this. Some of the changes have been heartbreaking, others have been full of joy. You have changed at 30. You will constantly be changing. Celebrate those changes. Peace to you.

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