In this month of resurrection and rebirth, we seek the hope we might have lost somewhere back in the dead of winter, when the trees were bare and the ground lay cold and hard. It is in the budding cherry blossom trees decorating the streets with their pink boughs extended gracefully at their sides, that we find beauty, hope and the promise that something better is around the corner. And it is in the words of the stories we write that we transfer that same promise to our readers. Like the sweeping cascades of soft, pink petals fluttering gently in the April breeze, the writer’s words of aspiration flow across the page, from the mind of the author to the heart of the reader.
From tiny seeds planted deep in the rich soil prepared ahead by the gardener, the cherry blossom tree rises over time, and year after year she reappears before us, to reveal her promise to those who will pay attention. Each time she returns, she reminds us that despite the harshness of the winters she faces- year after year, she remains resilient, courageous, unafraid and faithful for tomorrow and something better. She does not let adversity get in the way of her reawakening each season, or from sharing her bravery and optimism with us for the short time she is with us. It is in her strength and her beauty that we glimpse the hope she inspires, as long as we are willing to open our hearts and our minds as wide as we open our eyes, to acknowledge, appreciate and accept her gift.
Her soft, velvet petals fall from her branches, like words read from the page, to be remembered in another time or in another season or chapter, when they are more needed or relevant. The cherry blossom tree no longer feels pain. It is her calling to remind us that the life we are given is beautiful and short, and it is in only our own power to make it meaningful. It is in the story we write that we are meant to help our readers feel or learn, and ultimately to bloom like the plant ideas to which we give life. Like the flowers to which we tend in our garden and the cherry blossom tree we admire, the lesson in our story shall be the book we eventually publish and share with others, or the seasons of the lives we have sowed and reaped, as people who want to make a difference.
Helen Suk, a freelance writer and travel photographer said the following in one of her blogs;
Tied to the Buddhist themes of mortality, mindfulness and living in the present, Japanese cherry blossoms are a timeless metaphor for human existence. Blooming season is powerful, glorious and intoxicating, but tragically short-lived — a visual reminder that our lives, too, are fleeting.
Why don’t we marvel at our own passing time on earth with the same joy and passion? Why do we neglect to revel in life when it can end at any moment, or in the grace surrounding us everywhere: our family, friends, a stranger’s smile, a child’s laugh, new flavors on our plate or the scent of green grass? It is time, cherry blossoms remind us, to pay attention.
In Japanese culture, sakura as the embodiment of beauty and mortality can be traced back centuries. No one in history personified this metaphor more than the samurai, the warriors of feudal Japan who lived by bushido (“the way of the warrior”) — a strict moral code of respect, honour and discipline. It was their duty to not only exemplify and preserve these virtues in life, but to appreciate the inevitability of death without fearing it — in battle, it came all too soon for the samurai. A fallen cherry blossom or petal, it’s believed, symbolized the end of their short lives.
It is in our brief lives here on earth that we must make the best of what we have been given by our creator and gardener, and what we have learned, and share with others, even if it is within only the brief moment of time we are present. It is not the years we are here that make the difference, but the moments we make count, and the love we plant and nurture, and the stories we create, that make the difference. In words, the author and his message lives forever.
It is in the messages we sow that our readers reap the meaning of life and love and faith, that will linger until the final season of their time here on earth. Like the cherry blossom tree that is reborn each season of spring, and the lord who was resurrected despite the weeds of our sins, the story we write shall convey a moral that should last until long after our readers finish their last chapter.
Writing and life are as connected to one another as the root of a tree is to its leaves and its branches, its buds and its flower. In writing, we live and we teach and we learn, and in gardening we give life, we sow love and we reap the results of our labors. If only we could understand that writing and gardening and life are the same.
Life is about beauty, and labor, and love and planting and sowing and reaping, and if only we, as the gardeners and writers of our lives, could fully understand that, subsequently; all of our gardens would grow weed-less-ly, thriving with color and hope for the future seasons to come. Then, our stories would be about turning the adversities of our lives into flowers, and the harsh seasons we face time after time into lessons of hope for someone else who needs our promise desperately, and to making the most of the brief time we are here, as we were meant to do when we were planted by our gardener.
Just as the cherry blossom tree comes into our lives each Spring of rebirth, we as individuals and writers and gardeners must learn to share the beauty of our years and our stories , and our lessons of life and love to our readers, despite and because of, whatever adversity we have faced, for we have all faced many. It is for the sake of those looking to us the way we look to the cherry blossom tree year after year -that we are reminded of hope and rebirth and the resurrection of our lord Jesus, and the faith that will nurture and guide us through whatever harsh seasons we are yet to face in this garden of our life.