Autumn Cherry Blossoms…
After several cold rainy days, the clear sky and almost-warm air lured me from the house. I began my autumn garden clean-up and dug a bit more in the daylily bed that I am preparing for planting next year. A favorite flower is still blooming, as it has much of the summer. My Cosmos sway in this October breeze on their delicate ferny foliage, bright flags of pink, rose and pure white. I am at the stage of letting them go to seed, to ensure that they will grace my garden again next year.
In Japan, the seasons are given special attention. Spring brings cherry blossom time. The busy scurry of life is suspended for a time, while picnickers escape the cities to dine in orchards beneath the splendor of the blooming cherry trees. Sukura, sukura, the children sing, celebrating the sweetness of cherry blossom time.
In the early summer, Japanese school children and dedicated gardeners alike sow tiny seeds in tilled soil and in the autumn it is the delicate blossoms of the Cosmos which they planted that symbolize the season. Festivals, complete with scarecrows and “foot bath corners“, are held near vast fields of gently swaying cherry, pink, and white blooms. The Japanese call the Cosmos “Autumn Cherry Blossoms.” The season when leaves change color and fall from the trees, Kouyou in Japanese, is also celebrated with special sweets made in the shape of maple leaves.
In this rural northern locale, we celebrate Autumn with trips to the local orchards for crisp apples and long, slightly-confused meanders through the corn maze. Later in the month, we will select pumpkins for jack-o-lanterns and maybe give in to the temptation to buy just one more Hardy Mum that is too pretty to pass by. We return to simmering big pots of soup or stew, and do a bit more baking as the air grows chill and the first frost threatens.
I engage in all of those typical northern seasonal activities with great enthusiasm. I love Indian Summer and enjoy long walks on “sweater weather” days. I love the autumn mist that settles over the fields near our home between bouts of cold, drizzly rain. And, with a respectful nod toward my Asian kindred-spirits, I love to photograph the sweet Cosmos which tower delicately above my humble mums. How lucky I feel to have “autumn cherry blossoms” to delight me with their dance while I “tuck the garden in” for the year.
photo by Aisling, 2006