Beneath the Cherry Trees

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Every December as the last leaves fade to dust and the world around me descends into a frenzy of overconsumption, I dream of spring. I dream of the first day it is warm enough to go out without a coat, of longer daylight hours, and I dream of the equinox winds which freshen up the city streets. I conjure birdsong to drown out the sound of relentless 80s Christmas music, and I close my eyes to imagine the world painted pink as it is each spring.

This winter has been particularly mild, meteorologically speaking, but long and drawn out in other senses. I have been pining for spring for weeks now, as the news has filled with images of smirking Tories, the self-immolation of Brexit, catastrophic wildfires, the now annual “once-in-a-lifetime” floods, and fear of the novel coronavirus which has just this week been classified as a pandemic.

Today I walked the long way to the library to take my books back in light of potential city wide closures as I had a feeling that the blossom trees outside the Ikon Gallery in Oozells Square would be in bloom. Turning the corner from Broad Street I braced myself, but still the tears fell as I took in the trees in all their pink splendour in this eerily quiet part of town, deserted as the bankers who usually fill the office buildings backing onto the square work from home.

Cherry blossom and the arrival of spring is a much needed reminder that life goes on, no matter how dire things get. Long after we humans have removed ourselves from the face of the planet, the cherry trees will continue to bloom each spring as new moons wax and wane, and the tides ebb and flow.

The world is bleak. The world is beautiful. Everything is transient.

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