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  • Writer's pictureMiyuki Yoshikami

The Ephemeralness of Cherry Trees


Every spring, the 10th century poet, Ariwara no Narihira’s poem comes to mind. It is the

third poem in the koto piece, Haru no Kyoku by Yoshizawa Kengyo. He said, “If in this world

there were no cherry blossoms, life would be carefree.” I understand that this negative

sentiment was Narihira’s way to complement the beautiful of cherry blossoms. Every spring

in the Washington, DC area, particularly along the Tidal Basin, there are heightened worries

among cherry blossom festival and parade planners, tourists, and merchants. Everyone is

concerned about when the cherry trees will blossom and when will they peak. This year

(2024) we learned that the trees as well as the blossoms are ephemeral. Stumpy (photo) is

over a hundred years old, as are 300 more, and they will be replaced to make room for

younger cherry trees donated by Japan.

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