Yoshino cherry trees in bloom on the University of Washington campus

Yoshino cherry trees in bloom on the University of Washington campus

“Since every variety of tree and plant comes into bloom in its own time in one of the four seasons, we prize the timeliness and rarity of the blooming of each. . . . Now what we call hana or ‘flowering,’ what we call ‘interesting,’ and what we call ‘rarity’ are not three separate things but really one and the same.  But all flowers eventually are scattered, none stays in bloom.  And it is precisely because it blooms and perishes that a flower holds our interest as something rare. . . . to know the flowering is first of all to know that nothing abides.”
– Zeami, from Kadensho, translated by William LaFleur

“Death is the mother of Beauty.”
– Wallace Stevens

Mother and child, cherry blossom viewing

Mother and child, cherry blossom viewing

Cherry blossom viewing carries with it a Japanese sensibility, the awareness of the ephemeral.  It is heartening to see such a diverse group of people enjoying the magnificent blooming cherry trees on the University of Washington campus.  These Yoshino cherry trees are a natural wonder.

The Quad at the University of Washington

The Quad at the University of Washington

Blossoms shimmer in the sunlight

Blossoms shimmer in the sunlight

Gnarly bark

Gnarly bark

Photographing a fallen blossom

Photographing a fallen blossom

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Another blossoming tree on the U of W campus

Another blossoming tree on the U of W campus

 

 

Too Much Too Fast

March 25, 2014

Forsythia branches

Forsythia branches

“March brings too much too fast.”
– Hazel Heckman, Island Year

Yes, I am finding that March is bringing too much too fast.  I am feeling behind, and as much as I’d love to sit down and paint some flowers, I can’t find the time.  Here is a small sample of what’s bursting into bloom right now.  I took all of these photos this morning in my neighborhood.

Camellias

Camellias

Daffodil

Daffodil

Hyacinth

Hyacinth

Cherry blossoms

Cherry blossoms

Forsythia

Forsythia

Grape hyacinth

Grape hyacinth

 

It's cherry blossom viewing time on the UW campus, Seattle.

It’s cherry blossom viewing time on the UW campus, Seattle.

Sunshine + cherry blossoms = springtime spectacle

Sunshine + cherry blossoms = springtime spectacle

“Merrily, merrily shall I live now,
Under the blossom that hangs on the bow.”
– William Shakespeare

A few days of sunshine have popped the buds on the cherry trees on the University of Washington campus in Seattle.  The trees are in their glory, all blushing white.

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How fortunate we are to have these lovely cherry trees in Seattle.  The other Washington (D.C.) celebrated its cherry blossom festival’s 100th anniversary last year.  I still have a few commemorative stamps left over.  I’ll have to use them on the letters I write this month.

Commemorative Stamps of cherry trees in Washington, D.C.

Commemorative Stamps of cherry trees in Washington, D.C.

Last week the Yoshino cherry trees on the UW campus were just starting to bud

Last week the Yoshino cherry trees on the UW campus were just starting to bud

“There is something infinitely healing in the repeated refrains of nature — the assurance that dawn comes after night, and spring after winter.”
– Rachel Carson, The Sense of Wonder

Each spring we have our own cherry blossom viewing opportunity in Seattle.  Among the best places to view the spectacle is the Quad on the University of Washington campus.  Last week when I went, the trees were in bud, and I could see that the peak of cherry blossom time was just days away.  A few blossoms were open in clusters on the bark of the trees.  One tree, situated over a warm air vent, even sported branches in full blossom.

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It’s so interesting to see blossoms sprouting directly from the bark of these Yoshino cherry trees.

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Buds in readiness to blossom

Buds in readiness to blossom

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In another week, all of the trees will display profuse blossoms like these early ones.

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Spaceneedle on the horizon across Green Lake

Spring has sprung around Green Lake, and the sights from the walking path around the lake are just lovely.  Warmer weather brings more people out to our cherished city park.

Beds of long-blooming daffodils separate a parking lot from the lake path

Green Lake tree (photo with Orton-ish effect)

Cherry blossoms, Green Lake (photo with Holga-ish and HDR-ish effects)

Cherry blossoms at Green Lake (photo with Holga-ish and HDR-ish effects)

Park bench along the lakeside path, Green Lake

Victorian home overlooking the lake along Green Lake Way

Victorian house with Lomo-ish effect

Looking into the canopy, Green Lake (photo with Holga-ish effect)

Landscaped yard on a residential street I pass on my way home from Green Lake (photo with Orton-ish effect)

Published!

April 4, 2012

Just spreading the news.  Several of my cherry blossom photos have been published in the Seattle Post Intelligencer, our city’s online newspaper.  You can link to them here.

Walking down the quad at the University of Washington during cherry blossom time

This post is a gift of armchair travel to my readers who do not live in Seattle.  If you are a resident of Seattle, I urge you to go to the University of Washington to view the cherry blossoms.  Now!  The lovely Yoshino cherry trees are full of cascading blossoms and I’m afraid the peak will be over soon.  You really don’t want to miss this sight.

I’ve enjoyed hanami in Seattle, viewing these cherry blossoms, for many years.  The blooming trees are so picturesque, but it is getting harder and harder to make fresh and interesting photographs of the spectacle.  I try to bring new eyes, but it’s still challenging.  This year, I decided to play around with black and white and also with some of the photo manipulation edits on Picasa.  I’ll share some of these experiments at the end of this post.  Enjoy!

Dappled light

Viewing the cherry trees through magnolia branches

Blossoming Yoshino cherry trees encircle the quad at the University of Washington

Dense clusters of blossoms

Cherry trees with bench

Cherry blossom, blue sky

A photographer's wonderland

An inverted world, reflections in a puddle

Dome and cherry trees, U of W campus

Child with fallen blossoms

Building family memories

Snapping photos of the cherry blossoms

The quad was a great place for people-watching.

Single branch back-lit by the peek-a-boo sun

Distinctive clusters of Yoshino cherry blossoms

Cherry blossom viewing at the University of Washington

The quad seen through the branches of a flowering magnolia tree

Under the cherry trees

Cherry blossoms seen through the skeleton of a magnolia tree

Lamp post under the cherry trees

Cherry trees on the quad, University of Washington campus

Under a cherry tree

Bike racks with cherry trees

Yoshino cherry blossoms

Line of Yoshino cherry trees in soft focus

Magnolia and cherry blossoms with inverted colors

Cherry trees with Lomo-ish effect

Bark and blossoms with Lomo-ish effect

Cherry blossoms with inverted color effect

Looking through magnolia branch, with softened effect

 

 

 

 

More Cherry Blossoms

May 3, 2011

These cherry blossoms are an explosion of pink:

Flowering cherry tree

Watercolor sketch of cherry blossoms

Reading Room at Suzzallo Library, University of Washington

This week is National Library Week, and I celebrated by visiting a few of the libraries on the University of Washington campus.  The UW Visitor’s Center has a map of the various libraries on campus, some of which are housed in their departments.  I didn’t have time to stop in at all of them.

Grand Staircase, Suzzallo Library

Hanging globe, Suzzallo Library Reading Room

Atrium, Allen Library, University of Washington

Hanging raven sculptures, Allen Library

Rack of foreign language newspapers, East Asia Library, Gowen Hall, UW

The Music Library has a magnificent view of the cherry trees on the quad, University of Washington

Cherry blossoms, UW

Cherry blossoms on the quad at the University of Washington

Cherry blossoms in the morning light, UW

Sakura in Seattle

April 11, 2011

Cascading cherry blossoms

Our cool, gray Seattle spring is prolonging the cherry blossom season here.  Sakura, or cherry blossoms, are so lovely this year. 

Garr Reynolds, one of the bloggers I follow at Presentation Zen, recently wrote about the cherry blossoms in Japan, where he is living (you can link to his blog here: http://www.presentationzen.com/presentationzen/2011/04/spring-cherry-blossoms-give-hope-to-new-beginnings.html).  He writes about the symbolism of the short-lived blossoms, and finding the lesson in nature that ” life is precious and short and must not be wasted.”  Sakura also symbolize “starting a new chapter in life or of starting over with a renewed sense of hope and optimism.”

Mr. Reynolds has close ties with Japan, and I found one of his earlier posts about the resilience of the Japanese one of the best things I’ve read about the recent earthquake, tsunami, and its aftermath.  You can read his post by linking here: http://www.presentationzen.com/presentationzen/2011/03/fall-down-seven-times-get-up-eight-the-power-of-japanese-resilience.html.

 I think about his words as I enjoy our cherry blossom season in Seattle.

Cherry blossoms after rain

Buds, blossoms, and raindrops

Catching the last rays of the sun, cherry blossoms at dusk at the University of Washington

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