We have a little place in East Hampton. It’s a perfect house for the kids to play outside, to discover nature and to walk to the Bay to contemplate. The house needs refreshing and is in need of a new paint job, but it holds several experiences that will keep it close to my heart.
One, are the two cherry blossom trees in the front yard. As the weather warms, we have about a one-week time frame to pack ourselves into the car and race (it’s really more of a turtle race…a stop here; a stop there; two tired parents; one child that who falls asleep no matter the time of day; and, one child who is just happy he has graduated to a “big boy seat”). Because of the end-times weather we are experiencing in New York, now is the time, except Alfred is on call so I am hoping that next weekend the blossoms will still stand.
It’s magic really. The pink and white blossoms open at about the same time and flood the vista with flowers. And then you look out the window after a day or two and they are gone, replaced by leaves that fill out the tree until the return of cooler weather. In Japan, the cherry blossom trees represent mortality: the birth of the tree; the beauty and then the passing.
Aside from the fact that I have been super-freaked by the end-time weather in New York City (yes, it causes me anxiety) it means our usual trip in late March or early April has been pushed up a week or two because the blossoms are in bloom now. Hanami is the centuries old Japanese practice of lunching under the blooming trees (Japan has thousands and the views are spectacular) and I hope we have an opportunity to try this tradition with Japanese food for the kids sometime this coming weekend.
The great thing about blossom trees is that you can find the branches in your local floral shop or corner deli. We have large grouping of magnolia branches on our kitchen table. The branches will last longer than traditional flowers (expect 1 – 2 weeks for a display that you put together for your table) and at least in our case, the flowers of the magnolia branches have been replaced by the leaves of the tree.
Cherry Blossom Festivals
Washington, D.C.. Washington, D.C. annually hosts a month long festival of events dedicated to the cherry blossom. I haven’t seen, but hear it’s lovely.
Botanical Gardens Cherry Blossom Trees (April 1st – April 29, 2012).
Featured Photograph: Jon Jensen Photography (A beautiful site full of wonderful home decor photography.)