The Best Thing That Happened This Week: Cherry Blossoms!
What with all the weird weather that went into spring this year, there was a lot of free-floating botanical consternation hereabouts. What would Stella’s late-season snow mean for our gardens? Were the star magnolias safe? How about the cherry trees? Philly has a ton of flowering cherry trees, a.k.a. Prunus serrulata, along with a 20-year-old annual festival dedicated to them (and brought to you by Subaru, because hey, nothing in life is free). Philly’s first 1,600 flowering cherry trees were planted in 1926, during the nation’s Sesqui-Centennial Exhibition, as a gesture of friendship by the government of Japan; since 1998, the Japan America Society has planted a thousand more, along the River Drives, by Memorial Hall, and across Belmont Plateau. In Japan, cherry blossoms, known as sakura, embody mono no aware, variously translated as “the pathos of things,” “an empathy toward things,” and “the ahh-ness of things.” Their transience only heightens their beauty, and their passing brings a deep, gentle sadness: Such is life. Go sit beneath a cherry tree.