spring is in the air

Between the hostile winter winds and the full bloom allergy chock, there are usually a few weeks every spring to really enjoy. Those weeks the air is soft and the plum blossoms are shining white on naked branches. I believe that period is now – on our daily outing, when walking a narrow street sheltered from wind with the afternoon sun warming us from behind, I had the light feeling of being that spring inspires. This is our son’s first spring, and I so would have liked to experience it together to the fullest, really enjoy the beauty of Tokyo spring that I believe has few rivals, but reality is here and with reality comes the need to adapt to the situation at hand which means enjoying the safe pleasures of spring that are close to home instead.

Every day when exiting our apartment building we encounter the question – should we go left or right today? If we go right, we meet few people and can enjoy a kind of mundane stroll through residential areas with small houses and even smaller gardens that cost a lot of money; if we go left we pass the shopping area and eventually, after crossing a big avenue full of cars and people, we slowly find another Tokyo and an a viewpoint that we feel drawn to, overlooking the neighborhood and vita a clear view of the mountains in the distance – this spring day we chose left. Following the narrow street up the hill, our baby started to become impatient in his baby car, so we stopped to see if he was uncomfortable or just bored, but by then he had lost interest in his impatience – he was looking at the tree above him.

Seeing plum blossoms on a tree, with no distraction from green leaves or any other competing colors, is as close to the image of clean beauty as I can think of – a timeless image of winter meeting spring, a feeling of witnessing nature coming to life that only melting ice dripping from icicles hanging from a rock in the forest has inspired in me in this way. I think of when I lived in Sweden, taking walks in the forest, stopping to feel the sun on my cheek, hearing the sound of water dropping from the icicles; it feels like a lifetime ago. Now instead I hear the sound of the city while looking at my son under a blooming plum tree – the feeling is the same.

Those times, when a beautiful feeling can freely live in me detached from thought, are the happiest I believe; after moving to Japan, after our son was born, those moments have become much more present in my life. There is an existence of meaning in them that illuminates the meaning of existence, makes it possible to understand without the distractions that explanations inevitably infer. Those moments are treasures to cherish. Just like a white plum blossom on a naked branch.

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