I hold the trunk close.

Cherry blossoms kiss my face.

Dew shines in the grass.

The glorious Kousa cherry trees at Polly Hill Arboretum are in bloom this week. (Prunus: Accolade) These are trees that I have kept an eye on, and painted many times over the years. There is something about these trees in bloom that strikes a deep chord in me. Some ancestral whisper, perhaps, that brings that feeling of cozy familiarity into my body.

There is a practice in Japan called Hanami that has been going on for a thousand years. Spencer Thurlow, who is a translator of Japanese poetry, says it means literally “viewing flowers”. It is a kind of festival season when the cherry trees are in bloom. Friends and family take blankets and picnics to view the blossoms. Restaurants specialize in pink foods to go. Pink rice balls, cakes, desserts.

Like our New England leaf peepers, Hanami fans track the exact time of blooming. Newspapers have it listed two days to peak, and so on. There are even competitions between towns as to whose cherry trees bloomed first.

This year I was ready. As the winter turned to spring, I watched the large Kousa cherry in the arboretum that you can see from the road. When the buds began to get pinker, I took to visiting each day.

As the blossoming began, I invited a few friends to meet me under the tree in the meadow. I would bring cherry scones. We idled away an hour under that tree, telling stories, catching up and, how much fun is this, reading haiku, those 17-syllable pithy poems, sometimes with a sting of wisdom at the end.

Now as the petals begin to drop in flurries when the breeze picks up, we can hold the memory of that blossoming time close.

In war and in peace

Cherry blossoms bloom each year

Wisdom will prevail.