Cherry blossoms

Alice Claire Mansfield (1991)

Before sundown tonight, I drive to Kenwood to see the cherry blossoms. The trees here are planted so closely together that I see no sky, only delicate pink and white shimmering in the fading light. In spite of other cars and people passing through, quiet prevails. I enter this cloister of ineffable beauty with a reverent, hushed heart.

Such loveliness always tears at me, causing a peculiar pain deep within. Is it because I see all too clearly not only the fair blossoms which delight the eye and refresh the soul but also the gnarled trees from which they spring? The trees themselves are rather homely, almost ugly. They are stout, not at all graceful or lissome. How marvelous that something so seemingly unattractive should produce such unequalled splendor!

What an important lesson for me to relearn as I gratefully emerge from the dark and cold of winter into the light and warmth of spring! My life is often like these trees. Sometimes hard and painful, it leads me on twisted paths, down valleys and up mountains frequently not of my own choosing. I falter, weary and discouraged, worn down by all that is heavy and irksome. I doubt my efforts to love and grow, question my capacity to give and persevere. I feel defeated, lifeless, just plain worn out and used up.

Still, the unthinkable happens. Life rushes through me, of its own accord, forcing me out of myself and filling my emptiness. Glory quickens within me, bursting forth profusely, albeit momentarily, to reveal that even in the most unlikely places there abides that "dearest freshness deep down things". This yearly show of cherry blossoms is a welcome reminder to me that,for all its poverty and pain, my life images the wonder of rebirth, the mystery of resurrection, the victory of life. And not just my own life but the lives of all those people who surround me. Together we reflect the goodness and glory of God, who continually calls us out of darkness into light, from death to life, through winter into spring. Blessed be Him who makes all things new!

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