Friday, August 04, 2006

Cherry Blossom

“Look, darling, what beautiful cherry blossoms!”

I turned around in the direction of my wife’s exclamation and saw a 3-m tall tree, magnificent with very pale pink flowers.

What a strange sight, I thought.
The entire tree is bare except for the cherry blossoms.

“Hmm, if you were a cherry blossom, what colour would you be?”, my darling of a wife looked expectantly at me.

I froze.
How the hell am I supposed to know?
I’m just a bloke, not a bloody flower!

“Hmm, that’s a good one. I suppose I would have to be something less feminine, wouldn’t I? And pink is definitely not my colour”, I responded thoughtfully - brows knit, eyes squinting - buying time.

“I think you would have to be the plain old vanilla one,” volunteered my darling of a wife.

That was close.
Just as I was wondering where that was supposed to be heading, another even more terrifying question came:

“And do you know what colour I would be?”

Now, had I been younger, I might have simply dismissed the question.
But, having been married long enough now, I know never to underestimate the potency of such ‘silly’ questions.
Oh no, don’t you ever dare dismiss such questions.
Or you’re toast.

The answers to such questions are a reflection of how well you know her.
The problem is, the longer we have been together, the lesser confidence I feel of answering them correctly!
Women seemed to change their minds so quickly.
Barely had they made up their minds before they changed it again.

My brow broke out in cold sweat in the 12-degree air.

“Of course, darling! You cannot be the plain old vanilla. In fact, I think you would be the most brilliant of pink, radiating with vitality and livening up the surroundings.”

I kept my fingers crossed that there are indeed such varieties of cherry blossoms.
But, I need not have worried. A wide smile flashed across her face. Apparently satisfied with my answer, we continued our way to the supermarket for our weekend groceries-shopping.

It seems there are varieties of cherry blossoms that are bright pink.

Besides being a ubiquitous symbol of Japan, the cherry blossom (‘sakura’ in Japanese) is also a metaphor for the ephemeral nature of life. Its flowers bloom and fall within a week before the leaves sprout. In Japan, there are daily forecasts of cherry blossoms during the flowering season in early spring. Thousands of Japanese take this opportunity to have a nice picnic under the cherry blossoms.

How apt, I thought.
Life is short.
We should make the most of its every moment.
I’m going to have a cherry tree in our garden. The next time it blossoms, I shall be ready.
Imagine sipping a nice glass of wine, over some cheese and crackers, under the beautiful flowers, soaking up the cool spring sunshine, taking in the crisp fresh air.

“Look, darling. What lovely peach blossoms!”

I came straight back to Earth.

As I turned to look at the peach blossoms, I whipped out the notebook from the back pocket of my jeans. Turning to the page with the heading “Trees for the backyard (as indicated by Darling)”, I crossed out the last line and wrote:

138. Cherry Blossom
139. Peach

Ephemeral indeed.

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