March 20, 2015
Today is the Spring equinox. How we look forward to Spring! But this year I am contemplating the words of Alan Watts, who reminds us that we should be living and appreciating the Now. Not always looking forward to better days tomorrow. Not always striving to improve ourselves because we are dissatisfied with who we are this moment:
“How long have the planets been circling the sun? Are they getting anywhere, and do they go faster and faster in order to arrive? How often has the spring returned to the earth? Does it come faster and fancier every year, to be sure to be better than last spring, and to hurry on is way to the spring that shall out-spring all springs?”
— Alan Watts, The Wisdom of Insecurity: A Message for an Age of Anxiety
Watts published this in 1951. How appropriate his words still feel today.
Wordless Wednesdays: 12 Views of the Annual Cherry Blossom Extravaganza at the University of Washington
March 18, 2015
I have gardens on my mind, in part because things are blooming like crazy in Seattle right now. But also because I just read a wonderful book, The Pacific Northwest Garden Tour by Donald Olson.
In this book, Olson describes 60 gardens worth seeing in Washington, Oregon, and British Columbia. By my count, I have visited just 21 of the gardens on his list. And since my husband and I were making a weekend getaway to Vancouver, B.C., we made a special effort to check out one of Olson’s recommendations. He said, “If you have time to visit only one garden in Vancouver, make it VanDusen.” And so we did.
The highlights of the VanDusen Botanical Garden were, for me, the Hon. David C. Lam Cherry Grove on the great lawn which we caught in full blossom and the sculptures. There is something especially lovely about seeing sculptures placed in an expansive garden setting. I think they bring an element of surprise as you meander along the paths.
I imagine as more flowers reach their bloom time, this garden becomes even more of a showcase. Still, on this late winter visit, we caught magnolias, camellias, and some early rhododenrons in bloom.
The VanDusen Botanical Garden is home to a wonderful variety of trees. There are small lakes, formal gardens, theme gardens, and meandering paths. And even a maze!
This destination is certainly worthy of a return visit.
March 26, 2014
“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
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.
March 25, 2014
“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.
March 30, 2013
“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.
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.
March 27, 2013
“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.