On the 23rd March, 2020 a series of ‘lock down’ measures were announced across the UK in an attempt to prevent the spread of the Coronavirus pandemic. The country saw the closing of schools, universities, cafes, restaurants, pubs, leisure facilities, theatres, cinemas and other ‘unessential businesses.’ These measures were followed by strict instructions to ‘Stay at home and save lives.’ As many transitioned to work from home, or attend online classes the roads were liberated from high levels of pollution created by the daily commute and birds took advantage of a quieter stage.
Photo credit: Shivani Daxini
Whilst the freedom to visit friends or family, go to the local pub was taken away this spring, nature stayed. Cherry blossoms tend to bloom annually around the 4th of April and are known for their short lived life spans which relate to topics we all may find ourselves pondering about recently: mortality, mindfulness and being present. As cherry blossoms bloom this season, their power is vivid, beautiful and inescapable- but their colors won’t last forever. Currently it is uncertainty, the unknown and questions that fill many day to day conversations and thoughts, however, a rapidly changing global pandemic calls for presence and the appreciation of every moment in the company of loved ones and alone. Cherry blossoms won’t be here forever, and unfortunately it is no longer certain what will stay and what will go. What is possible, is appreciation for the stillness that nature offers us, the lessons it effortlessly gives to our every day lives.
Cherry blossoms which are in full bloom across the UK, are a reminder to embrace the present, it won’t be long before we won’t see the blossoms for another year. Cherry blossoms are a reminder to us all that in life, nothing is permanent, and this spring the blossoms symbolise the transient nature of life. This spring is more important than ever before, flowers continue to bloom, bluebells will make their appearance and daffodils are as bright as ever. Whilst we may have had to adjust to unusual circumstances, nature continues to demonstrate what it means to be present, mindful and grateful. In Japan the Cherry blossom also known as ‘Sakura,’ is the national flower and depicts a time of renewal and optimism. They signify the beginning of Spring and perhaps this year we can reflect on this beginning as a commitment to re-thinking the way we may perceive situations. Instead of observing the losses in our lives, or the removal of certain liberties, we can appreciate the consistency of nature which can be seen in our day to day lives. The global pandemic has taken away loved ones, key workers, front line NHS staff and many may be left feeling powerless or with out hope. Perhaps people are beginning to ‘expect the unexpected,’ but this doesn’t necessarily have to be a bad thing; perhaps if we accept the present moment and embrace it, just like the cherry blossoms blooming across the UK we will appreciate that ‘small things,’ aren’t necessarily so small after all. Are you guilty of saying ‘it’s the small things that matter’? Well maybe these small things: nature, the bird songs, the flowers, the changing of the seasons, aren’t so small after all. This Spring, in the UK, Cherry blossoms are a reminder to us a;; of the sheer delicacy of human life, but the simultaneous beauty associated with it, which is often right on our doorstep, and has not been taken away from us, or altered in response to a global pandemic, if anything, Cherry blossoms are more powerful and brighter than ever this year. Sakura (cherry blossoms) are here for us as usual this year, they have not been affected by this pandemic and their tremendous symbolism of renewal and optimism may benefit our thought processes now more than ever. What a time to be present, mindful, hopeful, observant and respectful of the delicacies of life.