Wednesday, January 30, 2013


Scattered over the mountains - the green parts and the stony parts, with little caps of snow at the top - here and there the eye finds puffs of pinkish-white where a cherry tree has somehow managed to be. How did each of them come to brighten there, pastel notes amidst the darker tones of cedar, hinoki, oak, beech, all the other stolid, right-at-home trees?

Cherry tree seeds reached each of those places way up there, in those difficult locations, likely dropped by birds or washed down by rainstreams from a parent tree above, now long gone. Perhaps that's why there are rarely two cherry trees together; they are scattered singly across these mountainsides, in little bursts of pink confetti for this moment at the edge of Spring - roundish wisps of brightness up there, shimmering now in the wind, small celebrations amid the overall somberness of the forest. 

Up there on one mountainside, though, is a single tree that is white, not pink, and not roundish or windshimmery like a cherry-- it is tall and pointed. My handy binoculars tell me it is a tulip tree up there at full bloom, limbs arrayed in natural majesty of the kind that finds its way into royal coats of arms.

The road below us is lined with cherry trees, that at this time of day are lit from behind us by the setting sun, the lake far below darkening blue in the background, sailboats sailing in the shadowed air above the flowering trees. All that beauty, like all the finest beauty - like those blossoms themselves - abides but a moment; then the sun is gone behind the mountains, and all that splendor now is nowhere but in ourselves.

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