My blog has moved!

You should be automatically redirected in 6 seconds. If not, visit
and update your bookmarks.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Cherry blossoms blooming in Crete

The cherry blossoms are beginning to bloom in the countryside in Crete. Everywhere we drive we see them and when we do we're compelled to stop and photograph them. There's a delicate beauty about them that's so attractive. Perhaps it's because we know the life of their flowering is short. In Japan they celebrate the arrival of the cherry blossoms with hanami or 'flower-viewing' celebrations, with feasts under the trees and walks through parks to admire the blossoms. These contemplative strolls take the form of a retreat to renew the spirit. In Crete their appeal is also about their misplacement. What is something that appears so vulnerable, a tree we normally associate with Japan, China and the Himalayas, doing in a harsh, arid Mediterranean landscape of hardy olive groves, sturdy pines and eucalyptus trees? Though I have to admit that while I wonder about the history of their journey and how they came to be here, simply sighting them is sufficient an experience for me. I never cease to be surprised by how the simplest things about travel - like seeing cherry blossom trees in a Cretan landscape - can often be the most pleasurable. Yet why don't guidebooks tell us these things? Instead, they must send us to cherry blossom festivals or cherry harvests, tell us where to eat cherry pie or buy cherry jam. Why isn't it enough to describe the beauty of the cherry blossom and tell us when, where and how we can see them flower? That's enough for me, because, like the Japanese, I find my spirit renewed simply by gazing at the tree. In Japan, the cherry blossom carries loads of symbolism, its short blooming time signifying the transience of life. Good reason to give the festivals a miss and take time out to stop and smell the roses... um, cherry blossoms.

No comments: