secrets of seattle

Cherry Blossoms at University of Washington

Delicate tufts of baby pink and pearly white like fresh flakes of snow. Cherry blossoms in bloom herald the start of spring. I like to think of spring season as the time nature allows itself to heal, or atleast the parts that are in its control. Leaves that had withered away in fall, take a shaky first breath as they dare to spring to life all over again. Flowers that could not bear the harsh winter, tentatively start to face the warm healing sun again.

Good or bad, eventually, every day comes to an end. So does spring. As does life. Cherry blossoms also signify the ephemeral state of life. Change is the only constant. In Buddhism, it is believed that enlightenment is attained when you allow changes to pass by without affecting you. Breathe in as seasons change. Breathe out as every second you age. Center yourself inside and nothing affects you that is on the outside.

A full bloom is a rare sight of perfection. At the zenith of their bloom, these flowers reach their end. When I started writing this post yesterday, I was sad, maybe that is why I focused on the fleeting sense of happiness. Tonight as I type this paragraph I am hopeful. So I focus on the wonder and beauty of cherry blossoms. Stand under a flowering tree and you will know for yourself what joy in it I see. For that one everlasting moment, I am at peace.

It was sunny in Seattle which explains the rush in the grounds of the University of Washington. The biggest challenge for the day is to get a parking spot close to where you need to get to. The campus could be one other reason for me wanting to go back to studies. It is immensely inspiring with a staggering mix of castle-like old facades in hidden nooks against the stark contrast of modern glass architecture.

I stopped to see a bride in a photo shoot. Who knew white against a green background could look so vivid! The clouds suddenly shielded the sun. The bride would shiver in the cold, I worried. But the photographer had pulled out a transparent umbrella and the groom in his warm looking tux had wrapped his arms around his bride.

Were they university students? I will never know. That is what makes writing this post fun. It’s the details in the things the eye cannot see like wondering how a groom must have met his bride-to-be.

Another day has passed. Am sad again and still determinedly trying to complete this post..

Back on the University of Washington grounds it was crowded. Even before I noticed the flowers I saw the dogs. Big and small. Noisy or scared. There were many breeds. An adorable white puppy had picture fright so I couldn’t get a pic. You can imagine a white ball of fur with a curly smokey grey tail.

I angled my camera determined to blot out the existence of people from the landscape. I relate cherry blossoms to Buddhist monasteries where Kung Fu Panda mastered his fighting techniques. Imagine those grounds with kids running around or chattering crowds!

Picnic baskets, a lone painter, a group taking selfies. There was excitement around me. And a lot of people trying to find a spot to get a picture of their liking. And here I was busy trying to find my Kung Fu Panda zen enlightened moment. The important discovery was that I need a new phone for better pictures. Until then words have to be enough to paint this picture.

Then, as stories marvellously have a way of reaching climax, the wind blew and some flowers drafted to the ground below. Who knows if I am ever going to reach a peaceful monastery, but this spring morning I witnessed a profusion of flowers in bloom which is as close as I can get to that elusive peace.  I gazed upon these cherry blossoms, ignored the chaos around and imagined my own Kung Fu Panda movie starring aarwen on a quest for her chi.



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  • Yangchen Bhutia
    May 11, 2017 at 8:40 pm

    Great write up and beautiful cherry blossoms!
    We have cherry blossoms in Sikkim too but they are usually during Nov-Dec. So they are reminiscent of final exams time of my school days…our school Tashi Namgyal Academy (where Bhaichung Bhutia also studied btw ?) is full of cherry trees and any student from there would tell you how we used to relate the cherry blossoms to dreadful final exams.
    But now that we are way past that phase, I can imagine how mesmerising they are! We also have a Cherry blossoms festival in our state and the blossoms usually have a backdrop of the tea gardens….and the sight is amazing ? (Will forward you the picture).

    • rhea sinha
      May 12, 2017 at 2:53 pm

      Thank you 🙂 I am trying to imagine small Yangchen Bhutia in school of Baichung Bhutia and angry with cherry blossoms because they bring exams with them… Haha Sikkim only gets better with each of your story. Write about your Cherry Blossom festival and share here. How come you didn’t tell us all this when we were actually 24 hours together by the way?