Like life

"Pink snow" surrounds our cherry blossom trees, covering the lawn and sidewalks, 2012

“Pink snow” surrounds our cherry blossom trees, covering the lawn and sidewalks, 2012

“Do not watch the petals fall from the rose with sadness; know that, like life, things sometimes must fade before they can bloom again.” — Author unknown

The cherry blossom trees of Washington DC are justly famous, but the ones I most enjoy are right outside the front door of our townhouse in Alexandria.  Until we lived with them, I never realized how briefly the cherry blossoms are in bloom.  We have less than a week to enjoy their beauty at peak bloom time when most of the petals are open.  If it rains, the petals fall even more quickly, leaving the ground covered in what I call “pink snow.”  The feather-light petals can be annoying as they stick to cars and windows, and get tracked into the house in clumps on the soles of our shoes.  But they are also beautiful, carpeting the ground with a fluffy loveliness unlike any other.

Wednesday as I was admiring the amazing blossoms in DC, the petals were just beginning to fall.  The past two days they’ve been fluttering through the air almost continually.  I’ve been sweeping, vacuuming and cleaning up pink flower petals off my floors all day.

Though I feel a bit sad when the blooming period is over, I also rejoice in the unique reminder left behind by the petals.  I take comfort in knowing the trees will bloom again next year.  Meanwhile there will be other flowers to enjoy.  It seems an apt metaphor for life; the glorious happy times that are over before we know it, leaving lovely memories that bless us even as they touch our hearts with sorrow.  We wipe away the tears and look to the future, trusting that new blooms will spring up.

33 Comments

  1. beautiful! wisteria is another that’s here one day and gone the next. sometimes when we have only a short window to bask in the presence, we cherish the experience even more.
    thanks for sharing such tenderness,
    lisa/z

    • I LOVE wisteria and wish we had some nearby. I remember it from early in my childhood; am I imagining that it was very fragrant, as well as beautiful? I didn’t realize its blooming time is also short. I do think we learn to be more aware of things that are fleeting. In the big picture, almost everything fits that description, so mindfulness is the best way to approach anything. Thanks for being here!

  2. singleseatfighterpilot

    Nowhere was the sad metaphor of which you speak more evident than the peach orchard at Shiloh (just over 151 years ago). Many eyewitness accounts described the delicate petals, falling like snow and lighting upon the fallen heroes. Julia, again you have touched on one of the essential facts of life. Thank you for your wisdom.

    • Wow, I had no idea there were flowering trees at Shiloh – an almost obscene juxtaposition; delicate beauty against violence and death. Of all the places I’ve been, Shiloh is one of the most haunting. Do you remember how terrified I was on our first visit there, when I was very young, maybe 4 or 5? I have never forgotten it. I don’t know whether I had heard you and Daddy discussing the history of that battle, or just something about the entire area, but I do remember being frightened by the idea of the “hornet’s nest.” When Jeff and I returned to visit Shiloh in the early 80’s, it still seemed to have that haunted quality.

  3. That picture filled me with some rare kind of happiness. I kept on looking at it for some time.We never value those blessings as long as we have them. But yes, they may come back to us if we are lucky enough for a second chance.

    • Thanks Bindu, I wish you could be here to see the petals! I have several photos of them on the sidewalks and doorways. I wish you could have seen all the cars in the parking lot covered with them yesterday. Hope you have a wonderful weekend and thanks for being here!

  4. Bobby Harris

    Growing up, Mother had a poem taped to the back of a cabinet door called “This Too Shall Pass Away”. It was one of those things we all learned to live by. The good times pass away, the bad times pass away, and even the little annoying, petty things pass away. It has always helped me cherish the good times because they are fleeting, endure the bad times because they will go. Perhaps the hardest is the little annoyances, like the flower petals tracked in on your shoes, because they get under your armor, but they too will pass away. Have a blessed day.

    • Thanks Bobby! I agree with you; the little annoyances take a real toll, especially cumulatively. We tend to build supports to get us through the really tough times and crises, but the nagging little problems eat away at us. “This too shall pass” is, as my friend Gloria reminded me many years ago, both a blessing and a curse. Thanks so much for being here!

  5. BeLove Julia, Thank You for sharing! Like remembering “This too shall pass”; i’ve learned to handle the ‘nagging little problems’ with a phrase “How important is it?” as John Kenneth Galbraith stated: ‘It is almost as important to know what is not serious as to know what is.” – reminds me ‘n.l.p’ not important enough to surrender my serenity or joy. Choosing Joy today and praying the same for you & yours also.

    • Thanks Kate, that’s a wonderful quote and so true. I hope you and your family are well today! YES we will choose joy! I appreciate your visits here and your comments.

  6. Sheila

    Julia,thinking of you and hoping that your “date night” with Jeff will be delightful! Of course, I also hope that Matt has a fun outting. My Mom was so like the rose bloom and then the petals fell, along with my tears. She had her 90th birthday in April 2011…. And that really was the celebration of her life. It took three parties and the whole month to get it all in! Her illness took her peacefully, just seven months later. We adored her; she was our “Point of Light”! Always a prayer, Sheila

    • Sheila, how wonderful that your mother lived 90 years and was a blessing to all of you. A month-long series of parties sounds like a wonderful way to say celebrate before saying goodbye, but I know you still miss her. It seems that some degree of sorrow is always bound up with our greatest blessings. Thanks so much for being here! Hope you have a wonderful weekend. Our weather here today is gorgeous and I hope yours is too.

  7. This reminds me of the Sacred Lotus, which blooms in the morning and then loses it’s petals by mid-day.

    • Wow, I had no idea that beautiful flower had such a short life. On January 9 I posted a photo of a flower that looks similar to a lotus, but it may be a water lily; can you tell which it is? Thanks for visiting here, and for your comment. Next time I see a lotus I will appreciate it more!

      • I think it might be a water lily – but the sacred lotus is also an emergent aquatic plant, so they are probably related somehow. The lotus has a yellow receptacle in the middle http://www.illinoiswildflowers.info/wetland/plants/sacred_lotus.htm
        It is also called a nelumno nucifera open flower. I recently used it as a symbol for a women’s devotional on prayer. It is a beautiful flower. I enjoyed your post.

  8. MaryAnn Clontz

    My dear Julia, The cherry tree in our backyard gives me good memories of my daddy. He knew all the trees around here. I always joke that I can tell what tree it is as soon as it bears fruit…LOL Daddy taught us that the “cherry tree is last to bloom, first to bear”. As each blossom begins, I am drawn back to riding in daddy’s truck listening to his lessons. They were all too short: he died in 1970 at age 70.
    My tree proves him correct; very soon we will be eating cherries!
    Thank you for your precious talent to bring joy to our thoughts!
    Love, MaryAnn

    • Mary Ann, thank you for sharing these sweet memories of your daddy. I didn’t realize there were cherry trees in Northern California! I guess everything grows there. I really miss the fruit trees that grew around us in Vacaville. Our neighbor had pomegranate, Sorrento lemons, and two or three different types of oranges. He never ate any of the fruits so he told us to help ourselves and we did. We had fresh squeezed lemonade pretty much all year round. The more we picked, the more it bore. Thanks for bringing back memories of those sunny days in California — and thanks for visiting us here!

    • Rene

      Visiting a relative’s farm in Italy, we walked through his grove of cherry trees, picking & eating the cherries as we went. I had never really liked eating cherries before, but they were delicious!

      • Rene, that sounds FABULOUS to me as I LOVE cherries. I like them fresh, dried, frozen or canned, but it would be especially fun to pick and eat them right off the trees. I can’t remember ever seeing them growing anywhere. I love to eat dried cherries with walnuts…yummy!

  9. Thanks, I’m so glad you like it! The Canadian side, it must be said, is much more impressive than the American side. The huge “Horseshoe Falls” are on the Canadian side, and those peerless Canadian gardens are a fabulous addition to the landscape. Hats off to your country! I always get a kick out of crossing a national border on foot. I can’t recall ever seeing anything ugly in Canada, not even in Toronto.

    • Awww, thanks for your kindness Julia, I’m sure there’s any number of unflattering views in Canada but I think you are a cheery girl who ‘chooses’ to see the beauty in the world. That’s a wonderful trait 😀 I’ve been to Niagara Falls and they are pretty stunning, I will say though I enjoyed Niagara On The Lake more….the cutest town with great antique shopping.

      • Wow, I’ve never been to Niagara on the Lake or even heard of it until I read your comment. We drove right by it, too bad we didn’t know to stop! Maybe Canada is so pretty in my mind because I have so many fond memories of my trips there. The first place I ever went to in Canada was Montreal and I fell in love with it. I thought it was the prettiest city I had ever seen (although in all fairness I had not been to Paris at that time :-)) and I remember how it seemed like two cities; the historic one above ground and a fabulous underground city connected to the subway with lots of shopping centers etc. Maybe we have just been lucky and seen all the right places but every place we’ve been to we loved.

        • We haven’t gotten to Montreal because we are always wanting a winter get away and it’s never on the list but I will totally second you on Paris. I will say that was the most magical destination I’ve been too. 😀

          • After my first visit to Paris, San Francisco dropped to my number two spot in the “magical city” category. My fantasy life would include an apartment in the 6th arrondissement where I could spend several weeks every year. I’ve never been there in the springtime but it’s supposed to be gorgeous then.

            • Paris is just like that…..gets in your heart and you hate to leave. Your fantasy life sounds dreamy, I’d love that too 😀

              • I’ll let you know when I get there…we can go out for café au lait and croissants in the morning before strolling along the Seine. 🙂

  10. Kathy

    Beautiful reminder to trust in those future blooms; thank you. I’m not as partial to live oak pollen, which is currently blanketing our lives in yellow dust, as opposed to pink snow! 😉

    • Yes, we’ll be hit with that yellow dust at our York home soon. Pink snow is definitely prettier, although I have dried petals on my car windshield that need to be scraped off sometime. At least it won’t provoke allergies, though.

  11. Julia, this is really lovely! This is want I always go for, ‘The nature beauty’
    I can’t imagine if I got to see this thru my naked eyes!
    Well, I don’t feel sad for the falling petals, this is how the earth works…
    Thanks for sharing! Just Love it! 🙂

    • Thank you Sydney! Since you had asked me how long the trees were in bloom, I thought you might enjoy this post. I agree with you that the seasons are a blessing. When we lived in California, Hawaii and Texas, the seasons were different and more subtle, not a great change in temperatures as there is here. At first I missed the warm sunny weather year round, but the autumn leaves are so glorious here that I realized I like living where the spring, summer, fall and winter are very different from each other. Thanks for visiting here!

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