It cannot be overstated that in Japan, the sakura is serious business. But why are the blossoms so significant? Here's hoping you get out and enjoy them this spring -- perhaps, even, with a little more history than before.
Nearly every neighborhood has it's own poofy pink claim to fame, even naughty Roppongi. On the way to the clubs, stop by Tokyo Midtown. The road at the back and side of the complex has 150 trees that are floodlit at night.
Every change of season evokes emotions, but spring, charging out of winter's cold dark with renewed life and brighter days, seems our most beloved. New hopes bloom like flowers springing back from roots we feared lost to numbing ice.
Each spring Robert goes in silence to stand beneath the thicket of pink. And we call to hear how the tree has burst again in its fullness. We close our eyes as he tells us the story we want to hear, and we feel possible all over.
One of Japan's most celebrated cultural treasures, "Colorful Realm: Japanese Bird-and-Flower Paintings" by Itō Jakuchū (1716-1800) is on view at the National Gallery of Art in Washington through April 29.
Japanese culture is all about rituals, like the ritual of "hanami" or flower-viewing. It'll take a while for Coloradans to be able to picnic under the trees at Green Valley Ranch, but it'll be a beautiful ritual when they do.