HANAMI Sleeping under the trees on Yoshino mountain The spring breeze wearing cherry blossom petals
In Japan, the advent of spring is heralded by a blanket of pink and white that spreads gently from the South to the North to cover the islands. Hana-mi translates to "flower watching", and it is a sport of leisure that has been enjoyed since the Heian Period.
Here, in Washington, D.C., we are blessed with hundreds of Japanese cherry blossom trees, planted around the tidal basin, adorning the Jefferson Memorial, creating magic in the city. The best time, in terms of avoiding the often crippling crowds, to see the blossoms is at dawn. Its you, a few breakfast picnickers with champagne and bagels and strawberries. But the best time to see the cherries, really, is at that moment in late afternoon when, as the sun sinks below the horizon, the temperature drops just a degree or two. That causes the cherry blossoms to give off their scent. Now, if you smelled just one, or just a hundred, cherry blossoms, you'd say that they had no scent. But when millions of them give off their scent all at once and you are blessed to be standing in the middle of them, then, you realize that cherry blossoms smell AMAZING. They smell exactly the way that early Spring smells, exactly the way that magic smells, exactly the way that dawn smells. If you can do it standing across from Thomas Jefferson with a crescent moon hanging over the monument and the water, well, then you can die happy.
I'm a woman, a Witch, a mother, a grandmother, an eco-feminist, a gardener, a reader, a writer, and a priestess of the Great Mother Earth. Hecate appears in the
Homeric Ode to Demeter, which tells of Hades who caught Persophone
"up reluctant on his golden car and bare her away lamenting. . . . But no one, either of the deathless gods or of mortal men, heard her voice, nor yet the olive-trees bearing rich fruit: only tenderhearted Hecate, bright-coiffed, the daughter of Persaeus, heard the girl from her cave . . . ."