Cherry Blossom in Kungsträgården
For just a few days every Spring the trees in Kungsträgården, Stockholm, are alive with bright pink cherry blossom.
Walking through the avenues of blossom trees which line the sides of the pedestrianized square, I realized I was the focusing my attention on that present moment. I was experiencing a moment of mindfulness. The Buddhist theme of mindfulness is the ability to the live in the present. Looking at the blossom, I was aware that I was doing just this. Not only was I enjoying the moment-by-moment, but also I was aware of my thoughts, feelings and surrounding environment.
For many around the world the life of the cherry blossom flower is so short. As a result of this they have become a symbol for the fleeting nature of life.
Sweden and the Coronavirus
Every year the blossom attracts crowds of people, but not this year. Because of the Coronavirus pandemic the crowds in 2020 had thinned out. The few people who were there were observing the Government advised social distancing and keeping well apart.
Sweden’s approach to the pandemic is almost unique in Europe. Rather than a lockdown, the Government has asked Swedes to do ‘the right thing’, and has given them the liberty to prove they are ‘responsible citizens’.
This controversial COVID-19 approach has caused criticism and praise both nationally and internationally. Whether you agree with the Swedish approach or not, nobody will know the answer to this until the pandemic crisis is over. Maybe the Swedish Government are playing Russian roulette, who knows?
Painting the Blossom
Later that day, while I was doing a painting of the cherry blossom, I thought there seemed to be a link between the blossom and Coronavirus. People believe the cherry blossom tree is a reminder of how precious their lives really are, as does the pandemic.
In Japan for many centuries the flowering cherry tree, known as sakura, is also a symbol of renewal and future happiness.
Although life is rather dark and uncertain for many at the moment, hopefully COVID-19 will pass. And soon there will be some light at the end of the tunnel.
A trip down memory lane
Flashback photo to us visiting the blossom six years ago in 2014 (with the crowds of people).
A couple of sketches of the blossom from my Swedish sketchbooks.
Haiku Poetry about Blossom
they fall and scatter…
by Konayashi Issa
The What a strange thing!
to be alive
beneath cherry blossoms.”
By Konayashi Issa
Very brief –
Gleam of blossoms in the treetops
On a moonlit night.
By Basho Matsuo