Flowers bring a smile with their innocence to harried faces, lift them out of depression, spell romance and passion and serve God with a reverence that no other offering can.
By Nazarul Islam
“Loveliest of trees the cherry now is hung with bloom along the bough”
Remember these lines, we were required to memorize, and then explain in our written English examinations!! That reflected our ability to write from imagination. Today, the beautiful trees and flowers are a reality. This is the springtime, a season we cannot ignore…
Once again….it is the season of flowers and the whole world seems to be saying it! The sidewalks, the enclosed islands on speeding highways, the columns of massive trees of orange Gulmohur and yellow Laburnum trailing gold, the public parks and gardens abounding with manicured lawns and beds of flowers nodding their welcome to fitness freaks as they jog past!
Ambitious patches in front of houses struggling to burst into flower and the balconies in the high rises with little baskets of trailers showing off their largesse to all those who cared to see.
Flowers, even with their evanescent beauty, fragility and lingering fragrance can be empowering.
They bring a smile with their innocence to harried faces, lift them out of depression, spell romance and passion and serve God with a reverence that no other offering can. Flowers are a light in a cruel and unforgiving world, a symbol of peace and conciliation in a warring world and embattled spirits. Flowers, whether in well-orchestrated bouquets, or in magnificent disarray in a forest glade, or a single flower in a button-hole or standing sedately in a vase, can soothe sagging spirits and weary eyes!
One of the most beautiful sights I will always remember is the thick coiled garlands of jasmine I saw piled high in baskets on my visits to Vijayanagaram.
This is also the season when flower festivals are celebrated in various parts of the world, most notably the Sakura, the Cherry blossoms of Japan.
The Japanese who are votaries of beauty and elegance set aside time for viewing the beauty of Sakura, the cherry blossoms that have fleeting lives. Within a week of blooming, the cherry blossom petals float gently off the trees in a pink and white snowfall and “no human entreaty can prevent that swift yet elegant demise.”
Those wisps of flowers embody the “mono no aware”, a Japanese aesthetic concept which is empathy towards all things, awareness of their impermanence and the ensuing pathos of letting go of what is so beautiful. It is their transience, their very finiteness that is the essence of their beauty and a cause for wonder and gratitude.
The Sakura has inspired the Japanese masters of haiku, poems of seventeen syllables that enshrine and celebrate the awareness and beauty of a passing moment. Kobayashi Issa says: ”Under the cherry blossoms/none are utter strangers” and Matsuo Basho “Between our two lives/ there is also the life of/the cherry blossom.”
How deeply the flower features in Japanese life in the season of Sakura as families spend time under the trees on their hanami mats to view the flowers in all their glory before they quietly vanish!
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