Thursday, March 13, 2008

Cherry Blossoms

I love everything that BPAL makes.

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.

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