Last year when I met a few old friends in Taipei, we talked about going to Japan for Cherry Blossom Festival sometime. It is one of the major tourist attractions in Japan between March and April, an event that has a bit less than 90 years of history and as you can imagine, there is a multitude of cherry spices being cultivated throughout the years. Beautiful flowers in varieties plus Japan’s unique cultural flare. The images I have seen throughout the years are simply fascinating.
As I discovered, the Mayor of Tokyo had given 3000 cherry trees to Washington DC (city) in 1912 to bond the friendship between US and Japan, and that relationship lasts to this day. Washington DC is now celebrating our National Cherry Festival from March 20 to April 13 this year. I have never known that this tradition is closely related to Japan.
A sea of pink flowers line up on two sides of the main drag. Driving through the streets adorned with cherry trees make me feel like going to a carnival with all the flower fairies standing alongside to greet us. Happy Day! Happy Journey! is what I heard in my mind. I almost want to think that Cheers has something to do with Cherry.
Many cherry trees are not accessible for photos. There is almost no chance to take pictures standing in the middle of the streets. Regardless of how early it is, there is always ongoing traffic. Friends have been taking some amazing photos at the capital mall in Salem where cherry blossoms are now dominating. My heart is leaping. I want to be there.
In order to get some decent shots, I have to be there immediately after sunrise. Had an early start at 5:15am on Sunday, I got on the freeway at 6:00 and headed north. It was still dark. I reminded myself that I need to give myself undivided attention while driving, but it was so hard not to look around. Sun was hidden below the horizon; the hazy mountain range was half-awake; shaded trees just began to yawn. The only sober one, morning fog, was moving across the green field, ponds, and creeks. I could not shoot anything, but the layers of color palette made my mind wander. I yelled out to myself, keep going and stay focused on my planned destination.
Arrived at the capital mall a bit after sunrise. Many photographers had been there shooting. I was late in the game. Not a big deal. I am here. Cheer out. Today is the only fair day of the week and there are more people than I expected. There seemed always to have someone in my frame wherever I had my camera aimed. vis versa, I believe I was in someone’s frame as well. I tried to move away from people.
And yet someone was enjoying his morning on the bench. I did not detect that he would leave soon. But I really like the pink azaleas in front of the tree, so I snapped a shot and cut him off from my picture. I am a bit hooked to the Orton effect these days. I just love that creamy softness. Morning is fresh and it’s calm. I felt I could say Yes to anything and anyone without being uptight or being stirred up. A cold chill was still in the air, but the sunshine was cleansing. And, I felt comfortable being surrounded by beautiful cherry blossoms and none less, the loose pedals on the ground. Blossoms and lose petals are like soft pink puffs and powder. I felt pampered.Several patches of yellow daffodil have done well to accent the place. Daffodils usually bloom earliest in spring. Lots of them. They are easy to grow, year after year. I often look at them and think, just some daffodils, nothing special, but today they are special to me. If not for them, I would not like this image. They are in the right place at right time. Their blooms are fading out, and the brown adds more to the color scheme, why not.
At this point, I even like the little streak of white jet trail in the sky. ‘What’s in your mind?’ I say everything and anything. I bent my knee down on the wet and muddy ground and had little fun with my wide-angle lens. I love the wide-angle effect, but I have not used this lens much. One of these days, I will force myself to carry only this lens for a shot and see what happens.
When the option comes down to zero, I bet we will figure out something else. When the option is down to one, I bet I would cherish it and master it.
My mind was on Japan and whenever I walked by this fountain, I thought about Japan. I cannot explain exactly why, but the color and structure of the sculpture remind me of Japanese culture, very structured, clean-cut, and spiritually powerful. I did not like to take waterfall with that creamy effect, but lately, I changed my mind. If the waterfall does not look creamy and white, the clear drops cannot transmit energy and power. At this stage of my life, I have a strong principle established for a long time, and yet, I am open to new concepts and ideas.
The fine water blind on the right comes in streamlined into the pool, calm and peaceful. When the output narrows down to a couple of spouts, the water stream becomes powerful. A contrast between gentle and forceful, a bit of Asian philosophy being soft and tough at the same time.
The morning was well spent. My contentment is that I actually made the trip in spite of distance and being deprived of some sleep time. I strolled out of the path with satisfaction and a smile. My heart was light and ready to take on the next project. To dream another dream…..