Hello spring! Now that winter is over and spring has arrived, it’s the time of year when Mother Nature is waking up from her dream and everything starts to burst into the new season. Think about the flowers and trees, how they awaken and come back to life in the spring. The buds were starting to show themselves in March. I always feel energized and happy when signs of spring are in the air. Even with all of the sneezing! So far, spring has been on the cool side but when it rains, it fertilizes the earth which helps with the process for spring to evolve. Spring helps us to wake up from the resting period of winter, giving us a way to open our hearts and recharge our energy in the same way the buds and blossoms burst open. The Spring Equinox that was a couple of weeks ago, gave us back the power of the light. The days are getting longer as the sun gives light to the earth helping us to wake up from sleepy and stagnant energy. Every spring gives us the opportunity to regenerate again, to be reborn from the stillness and quietness of winter. When we connect to our spirit we can feel the aliveness within which is rooted in the spirit of nature.
Spring is nature’s way of reminding us that every day is worth celebrating. Cherry blossoms are a big part of haiku and a symbol of spring in Japan. When the sweet buds of the cherry blossom start to burst, it is certainly a time to celebrate. The cherry blossom is often seen as a reference to spring; they represent rebirth and a new beginning, with the knowledge that the buds beginning to bloom will bring the fruits of summer. The cherry blossom symbolizes good fortune, an emblem of love and affection, as well as being a metaphor for the fleeting nature of mortality. The blossoms are celebrated all over the world during this time of year by having cherry blossom festivals to celebrate the rebirth and coming back to life.
In Japan, the cherry blossom represents the fragility and the beauty of life. Sakura is the Japanese term for the cherry blossom tree. Cherry blossom trees are different from other cherry trees because the cherry blossom trees don’t produce fruit. The significance of the cherry tree in Japanese culture goes back hundreds of years. Japanese masters of haiku wrote many verses about cherry blossoms that express this sentiment. The seasons represent more than the change of time; they are a big part of the Japanese culture and history. The cherry blossom is Japan’s unofficial national flower and the Somei Yoshino is a favorite type of cherry blossom. The Japanese cherry blossoms and the tradition of flower gazing, or hanami, have inspired poets for centuries to write haiku. The Somei Yoshino cherry blossoms have a short season — they bloom, and usually fall within a week, before the leaves come out. Then the blossoms are gone just as quickly as when they bloomed.
When these blossoms come into being each year, their short life reminds us of the overwhelming beauty and temporariness of life. For many around the world, the cherry blossom tree carries a message of how precious their lives really are. This is a gentle reminder to practice living in the present, being mindful and letting go. The life cycle of blossoms can help us question why we don’t always live life to the fullest, why we don’t always reach out to others, and why we don’t pause and simply pay attention to the magical living, breathing world around us. Cherry blossom season is a time to regain our perspective on life, and to be grateful for the good things in the ordinary that we can often take for granted.
THE VANCOUVER CHERRY BLOSSOM FESTIVAL
For the past seventeen years Vancouver has celebrated the cherry blossoms every spring with a month long festival. Part of the festival is a Haiku Invitational where haiku poets around the world submit cherry blossom themed haiku for a contest. Below is a link to see all of this year’s winners and more information.