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.

This post was originally published seven years ago today. Every year since, the cherry blossoms have bloomed and faded, with peak bloom time varying according to the weather. This year, peak bloom was about two weeks ago.

The original post, comments and photo are linked, along with two other related posts, below. These links to related posts, and their thumbnail photos, do not appear in the blog feed; they are only visible when viewing the individual posts by clicking on each one. I have no idea why, nor do I know how they choose the related posts. That’s just the way WordPress does things. 


  1. Dorothy

    Dear Julia, I agree with you about the mess fallen blossoms make but they are so beautiful. Growing up, my family lived for a few years in Grafton a town in northern NSW. Here each year in early November they have a Jacaranda Festival. The streets are lined with Jacaranda trees, many old and meeting across the streets. When they drop the flowers the ground becomes a carpet of mauve. Easter was different this year as our Church Services were online. It is the first Easter I have ever spent on my own. My son in India Skyped and I was able to talk to my 3 year old grandson Zeke. I was also able to talk to and see my other two grandchildren who are now back in Australia but an hour and a half drive away. I felt very sad when I read your comment from a few days ago saying you didn’t know whether you would ever see your two grandsons again. I hope they Skype you too. Not as good as having a hug but in this unprecedented world crisis it helps. Love, Dorothy.

    • Dorothy, those Jackaranda trees sound beautiful. I can imagine the sight of the blossoms is well worth the mess created later. I’m glad your family are keeping in touch via Skype.

      No, I’ve never been able to get my grandsons’ parents to facilitate Skype or other digital contact, not even in the very, very sad and lonely months immediately following Jeff’s death. I haven’t heard from them at all since the COVID crisis hit, nor do I expect to. Since I know my attempts to connect are not wanted, I don’t contact them either anymore. That’s not said to solicit pity. It’s just a statement of fact. I understand that people are shocked by it. Nobody has been more shocked by it than me. But life goes on…

      I’m still not giving up on the idea of coming to NSW sometime in 2021. Surely things will be back to normal by then?!! Here’s hoping. Stay well!


      • Dorothy

        Dear Julia, I feel so sad for you not being able to have contact with your grandsons. As time passes I pray that Grady especially will remember you and want to see you. Dexter was three and a half when Neil, his Pop died, and he still talks about him. Much love, Dorothy.

        • Thank you, Dorothy. I’m so happy that Dexter can remember his Pop! Not long before Jeff died, Drew and Megan came to see us so Jeff could see their younger son, who was just a few months old at that time. As Jeff was holding the baby (just the two of us present, besides Owen) he said sadly, “This baby will never remember me.” Of course I told him that he would because I STILL believed Jeff would somehow survive, but I also told him that I would make sure he was never forgotten and that Owen would always know about his grandfather. I may someday be able to keep that promise in person, but in any case I am saving a cache of things from Jeff’s life for whoever survives me, who may be interested in knowing more about him. My parents always made sure we saw our grandparents at least once or twice a year in person. I know it was quite an effort for them at times but I’m glad they did. It was rather rarely that my grandparents came to see us, it was always the other way around.

  2. Wow, it really does look like pink snow! Much like my yard, except pink!
    (This is one of your posts that helps me cling to the assurance that spring will come, eventually.)

    • Susan, our spring seems to have arrived here. Our “cold” days now have temps in the 50’s. Matt and I are able to walk outside almost every day. I’ve been relieved that this COVID mess didn’t start in late December, when there would have been gloomy weather for weeks.

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