A bright gaze, as blank and menacing as the Sun but yet gracefully shone right across the dark, damp earth. Forcefully it shrinks the whitish snow only to reveal the green flowers that lay patiently beneath. The blue sky, accompanied by scattered white clouds paints the perfect picture. The mild wind brushes along the skin and kisses the leaves to grow. The air is fragrant filled with the smell of beautiful young flowers growing. Spring is in the air! Winters difficulties are quickly forgotten by the renewed hope that spring can offer. Spring brings new hope and also brings warmer weather, beautiful flowers, leaves on the trees, fresh air and the sounds of children playing outside. March brings April flowers.
While bright yellow daffodils greet the English and tulip’s sparkling colors with the Dutch, it is the legendary Sakura that play the roles in the Far East. The Sakura is adored and revered to be the most beautiful of its kind. Japanese especially would flock in their masses to watch the tree blossom. It is a sign of the coming of spring. It is the symbol of a new life, a new hope perhaps. A quiet park would turn into a singing ground in their eagerness to welcome the coming of Sakuras. Everywhere we turn to, beautiful pale of pink flowers dresses up the streets. A sense of joy could be felt all around.
Japan, the motherland of Sakura, acknowledges the importance of it in all ways of life. The school and working calendar all starts in the beginning of April which coincides with the blossoming of the Sakura tree. I can still relive the moments of when I first came here to Japan. It was the first of many activities held for the foreign students studying here. We were taken to see the cherry blossom in the Yukyuzan Park which was really famous here. It would be like a mass celebration with people coming busses after busses to see the beauty of the flower. They all wanted to see just one tree, which was the Sakura tree. It is true because there weren’t any other flowers in that park!
But why was Sakura so important to the Japanese people? They even use the Sakura to make tea during this season! Call it Sakura’s special tea if you like. Haven’t you ever wandered why? They were celebrating like Muslims would celebrate Eid and Christians would with Christmas.
Recently my Uncle asked me,
Yeh, Why is the Sakura so special for the Japanese?
And I said, its because its very beautiful and can only last for about 2-3 weeks at most. If you ever have seen it I’m sure you would agree with me about the beauty of it.
He replied, Yes, its true but what is the meaning behind the Sakura? And I started to think but didn’t realize it at that time….
Sakura is not just any other flower to the Japanese. It is of the utmost importance to them. Seniors would greet juniors under the Sakura tree, Managers would treat workers under it. So it must have an importance doesn’t it? The Sakura brought a new whole different perspective to how I see it. The Sakura is elegant and beautiful and yet, its life is regrettably short. The way I see it, the Sakura is telling us, that our lives are so short too, but we have to live a good and satisfying life. Even though the Sakura’s life is short, but thousands if not millions of people worldwide flock to see the beauty of it, its short life is truly to be endeavored for. On the contrary, a weed for instance, it lives a long life, but people just walk pass it as if it weren’t there. What is the point if we live the life that’s hollow inside? With each ticking time that passes by, lets make it purposeful. Why is it that Julius Cesar conquered the world? Why is it Einstein created those genius formulas? Why is it all those Islamic khalifahs strived to be the best in their respective fields? And what about Hang Tuah, the Malay hero as it is touted to be! What do they even have in common?
By (the Token of) Time (through the ages), Verily Man is in loss, Except such as have Faith, and do righteous deeds, and (join together) in the mutual teaching of Truth, and of Patience and Constancy. Qur’an (103:1-3)
They all made do with short lives and be the best at what theyre good at! Only then, will people appreciate for who we really are in this world. If youre lucky enough, generations after generations will study your feat that was achieved. Textbooks everywhere will have your name on it. That would be a real icing on the cake wouldn’t it?
Narrated Abdullah Bin Mas`ud Allah’s Messenger (PBUH) said: “A man shall be asked concerning five things on the day of resurrection: concerning his life, how he spent it; concerning his youth, how he grew old; concerning his wealth, whence he acquired it, and in what way he spent it; and what was it that he did with the knowledge that he had.”
Life is too short to hesitate, make do what we have and go for the best. Time is of the essence.We deserve to be better. We also can be like the Sakura.
p/s: For further info on hanami you can click here.