Dr M says: So what’s your favourite Cherry blossom?
Dr M is particularly fond of the purest white blossoms of the native Prunus spinosus (Blackthorn) but he’s a sucker for most cherry blossom.
There’s something about cherry blossom time; first there’s winter, greyness, rain, greyness again, possibly snow and ice and certainly cold!
And then somethings says “let there be Prunus” AND THERE IS PRUNUS! And how!
Clouds of wondrous blossoms, massed white, pink, red and everything in between. Surely only a heart of stone can fail to be moved by the beauty of this spectacle, a wonder of the natural world (aided and abetted by cultivation and planting of course!).
And then, as quickly as they arrived, they’re gone, puff!
But somehow their very transience renders the delicate blossoms the more potent and the more desirable and desired!
Last weekend the blossoms were at their peak in and Dr M took a wander through the University of Reading’s Harris garden, and there he lay, cushioned on grass, facing the blue sky and between a canopy of the most glorious, the whitest of white, the delicatest of delicate blossoms!
The Japanese take cherry blossom time very seriously indeed. The “Hanami” blossom ceremony is the centuries-old practice of picnicking under a blooming sakura or ume tree (Prunus serrulata).
And during these cheerful ceremonies, any cherry blossoms that happen to drift down and alight on the head of one beneath is taken as a very welcome sign of the best of best luck!
The “Hanami” festival is steeped in history and mystery, but it seems clear that the cherry blossoms are an enduring metaphor for the ephemeral nature of life, an aspect of Japanese cultural tradition often associated with Buddhistic influences.
The transience of the blossoms, their extreme and startling beauty, their rapid appearance and their just as rapid death, is readily associated with mortality, and cherry blossoms are richly symbolic in art and culture.
It’s no wonder Dr M found such solace and joy beneath such sacred and spiritual blossoms.