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Remember the Cherry Trees

The Weeping Cherry Tree in the Flat Garden

Musings from Diane Durston, Curator Emerita

As we face the days and weeks ahead away from our beloved Garden, it may help to look to Japan for inspiration from some of the great poets the past and understand how they responded to their own challenging times. All this alone time can be stressful. It can also be a time to pause and think about the things that really matter amid the chaos of everyday life.

The brief life of Japanese haiku poet Masaoka Shiki (1867-1902) was as poignant as his poetry. Struck down by a form of crippling tuberculosis while still a young man, he wrote many of his finest poems lying on the floor of his room, unable to walk, writing from memory of his beloved cherry trees, symbols of the beauty of life no matter how brief. He died at the age of 34.

The cherry blossoms:
Being ill, how many things
I remember about them

Life is a cycle and this virus is but the latest of a thousand calamities that have faced the people of this earth for thousands of years, especially in Japan where natural disasters, floods, disease and famines have been a constant part of the country’s long history.

While the Garden is closed, our happy memories of time spent there can inspire all of us in the knowledge that we have enjoyed times of great beauty, that we are not alone, and that this too shall pass. Our devoted gardeners are at work so the cherry trees and e Garden will be there to greet us again soon.

Diane Durston, Curator Emerita

Diane is the author of Wabi Sabi: The Art of Everyday Lifea collection of quiet meditations on life lived simply and with intention, and three books on Kyoto (all available online).

Copyright: © 2020


Cherry Hill
Weeping Cherry in the Flat Garden
Cherry Blossoms surround the Umami Café