Buds, Blossoms and Bloom: A Kaleidoscope of Unfolding Womanhood


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All through the bright spring days, thousands of sight-seers will climb the stone steps of the temple of Kyomizu — or Good Water — in Kyoto, and wander through the buildings to the woods beyond. At every turn a new beauty wipes out the remembrance of the last, and fills our soul with sadness, that nature will not stand still for awhile and give us leisure to enjoy what we know will be here to-day and gone to-morrow. Already the early single flowers are fading and falling; every gentle breath of wind sends a fresh shower of the thin transparent petals to the ground.

To-morrow the heavy clusters of the double pink blossoms will have lost their freshness, and will be hiding their glories under the brown leaves that seem to unfurl and grow while we look at them. Last, and perhaps best of all, will come the double white blossom, whose buds are now hanging in pink clusters, and whose beauty will linger until the close of the "cherry month.

With the unerring taste of the Japanese all the colouring is in harmony with the blossoms, no false note will clash or take away from the beauty of the surroundings.

By the 1st of April all is in readiness for the visitors, who from that day onwards will not fail to arrive in a never-ending stream during the whole month. Or should it be a late season and the cherry not be in flower so early, it makes no difference, still the people come, it is the time when it ought to be in flower, and such is the imagination in the minds of these curious people, that they will gaze for hours at a tree with scarcely more than a tinge of colour in the buds with as much pleasure as, if the tree were in all the glory of its full flower. On a holiday afternoon, when the weather is fine, every seat in the tea-houses is taken up by the pleasure parties, while in the open spaces the people spread mats brought with them for the purpose, and sit unfolding those neat little boxes and packets which contain their mysterious and wonderful food so unpalatable to our foreign ideas.

At nightfall the lanterns are lighted, and flaring torches round the giant tree cast their lurid light upon the heavily laden branches, which might well belong to some forest tree bending under the weight of freshly fallen snow. Those who cannot leave their work during the day, come forth at night to swell the throng. The sounds of music and feasting, the beating of tom-toms, and the ceaseless dragging of ten thousand clogs mingle with the cries of the toy-seller whose stock of those wonderful paper butterflies, and of the miniature lanterns with the candles ready lit, has to be constantly replenished to supply his endless customers.

Thousands of country people, wearied with their round of sight-seeing, spend the night on the grass, only to start again at daybreak on a fresh pilgrimage of innocent pleasure. The Emperor Kameyama in the twelfth century planted a number of cherry-trees from Yoshino at Arashiyama, a picturesque gorge where the river Katsura, celebrated for the beauty of its rapids, running through a narrow valley, becomes a wide and shallow river and is renamed the Oi gawa.

Here it is said this Emperor built a pavilion, and, during the cherry month, the Court held high revel for many years. The pavilion has long since disappeared, perhaps swept away by one of the numerous floods which devastate these valleys: but the cherry-trees remain, and here, instead of the stately Court of ancient days, the modern Kyoto sight-seers hold their revels, for Arashiyama may be said to rank first among their favourite spring resorts.

They gather in the tea-houses and flower-booths on the banks of the river, and spend their flower-viewing days by the running water and the clouds of white blossom, exclaiming possibly in the words of their poet, "Not second to Yoshino is Arashiyama, where the white spray of the torrent sprinkles the cherry blossom.

Occasionally a flower-laden boat, which has successfully accomplished the passage of the rapids, will come into sight, and the sound of samisens, the saddest of all music, comes floating through the air. While feasting with his courtiers in a pleasure-boat on a lake in one of the royal parks, some petals fell into his wine-cup, and drew the attention of the monarch to the hitherto despised blossom, and he exclaimed, "Without wine, who can properly enjoy the sight of the cherry blossoms?

The Emperor Shomu, while hunting on Mount Mikasa, in the province of Yamato, was so struck by the beauty of the blossoms, that he sent some branches, accompanied by some verses of his own writing, to his consort Komio Kogo. Afterwards, in order to satisfy the curiosity of the Court ladies, who had never seen this wonderful flower, he commanded a number of the trees to be planted round the Palace of Nara, whence arose the custom of planting them near all the royal palaces in the country.

The province of Yamato is especially celebrated for its cherry groves, and justly so, as the little mountain village of Yoshino has given the name to the most famous of all the varieties, and has even been called the headquarters of the cherry blossom; and so profuse is the mass of blossom that the poets have compared it to mist or snow upon the hills.

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The little street of the village winds away up the spur of the hill, past many temples and shrines, until it becomes nothing but the rough stony path which ascends Mount Omine. Although the village stands high above the sea, its own especial kind of cherry is rather an early one; the blossoms are large and single, pale pink in colour; but its beauty is fleeting, and the visitor must go early in the "cherry month" to Yoshino, or he will be greeted by great showers of the falling petals being swirled away on the wind to join the light fleecy clouds on Mount Omine, or down to the mists which hang in the valley below, and nothing will be left but the remains of departed glories.

During the few days, early in April, when the blossom is at its best, thousands of pilgrims visit the little village and occupy every available lodging; but the traveller who is not discouraged by the discomfort of primitive Japanese inns, or by the long tedious journey over the mountains from Nara, will find ample reward in the beauty of his surroundings. Parsons, in his Notes on Japan , thus described Yoshino: —. Everything in Yoshino is redolent of the cherry: the pink and white cakes brought in with the tea are in the shape of its blossoms, and a conventional form of it is painted on every lantern and printed on every scrap of paper in the place.

The shops sell preserved cherry flowers for making tea, and visitors to the tea-houses and temples are given maps of the district — or, rather, broad sheets roughly printed in colours, not exactly a map or a picture — on which every cherry grove is depicted in pink. And all this is simply enthusiasm for its beauty and associations; for the trees bear no fruit worthy of the name.

I was reminded constantly of a sentence a friend had written in one of my books, "Take pains to encourage the beautiful, for the useful encourages itself.

Buds, Blossoms and Bloom: A Kaleidoscope of Unfolding Womanhood

Tani O. Ifediora, Tani [online]. Malay words that begin with t. Malay words that begin with ta.

Malay words that begin with tan. She is the president of Proverbs 31 Ministries, offering women encouragement as they learn to love and follow Jesus. This site requires the use of cookies By clicking YES below, you are giving us consent to set cookies on your web browser. You have chosen not to accept cookies We respect your right to privacy in making this choice.

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Buds, Blossoms and Bloom: A Kaleidoscope of Unfolding Womanhood Buds, Blossoms and Bloom: A Kaleidoscope of Unfolding Womanhood
Buds, Blossoms and Bloom: A Kaleidoscope of Unfolding Womanhood Buds, Blossoms and Bloom: A Kaleidoscope of Unfolding Womanhood
Buds, Blossoms and Bloom: A Kaleidoscope of Unfolding Womanhood Buds, Blossoms and Bloom: A Kaleidoscope of Unfolding Womanhood
Buds, Blossoms and Bloom: A Kaleidoscope of Unfolding Womanhood Buds, Blossoms and Bloom: A Kaleidoscope of Unfolding Womanhood
Buds, Blossoms and Bloom: A Kaleidoscope of Unfolding Womanhood Buds, Blossoms and Bloom: A Kaleidoscope of Unfolding Womanhood
Buds, Blossoms and Bloom: A Kaleidoscope of Unfolding Womanhood Buds, Blossoms and Bloom: A Kaleidoscope of Unfolding Womanhood
Buds, Blossoms and Bloom: A Kaleidoscope of Unfolding Womanhood Buds, Blossoms and Bloom: A Kaleidoscope of Unfolding Womanhood
Buds, Blossoms and Bloom: A Kaleidoscope of Unfolding Womanhood Buds, Blossoms and Bloom: A Kaleidoscope of Unfolding Womanhood

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