Needless to say, reading it on the beach, my back against a log amongst families playing catch and frisbee and dogs in the water and people jogging on the shore, I cried. It is rare that a piece of writing makes anyone cry. If you want to purge tears, literature is generally ineffectual. The book is about death. It is about how a life's changes take place in mere moments. One instant one thing, the next instant anothing thing, unpredictable, unforgiveable, sometimes barely manageable, is the rhythm of life.
What passes away is often beautiful, or a should say, the passing of those things on which we dwell are most often the beautiful. Women bemoan the loss of their taut skin, their shiny hair. When I think of leaving Vancouver I greive momentarily for my friendships, my memories and the landscape of mountains and ocean. I will miss the jasmine cascading over fences in spring, and the wind sweeping the leaves off the streets in fall. I will miss walking home at night with Sitia and counting the prayer flags hung, block after block, above people's front doors. I will miss the gigantic bags of cherries in summer. I will probably even miss the many distinct greys, the warm greys and the wild greys, of Vancouver winters.
And this is what the cherry blossoms represent. They bloom for at the most a couple of weeks in the spring. The branches of the normally spindly trees are covered in cones of five-petal flowers, transluscent, fragrant and pink. Cherry blossom season in Vancouver is the most beautiful, prolonged explosion I have ever seen. But then the flower's hold to the bough weakens, and the wind blows off the water and scatters them to the ground. The petals fly like snow, they cover car windshields, they turn whole patches of grass into a carpet of pink. In Japan the cherry blossoms are an acient symbol of transcience. The samurai used to meditate on the cherry blossom in order to learn to appreciation for the present moment. When the cherry blossoms open each year in Vancouver I experience two weeks of heightened awareness. Each time I see one of those trees, like giant pink afros, I am return to the present moment. I do not want to miss the beauty of the blossoms, because any day they could be gone.