The Cherry Blossom Branch

Cherry blossoms enchant me.

Not all the other wanna-be blossoms this time of year. And there are many.

The Bradford pear boasts bright white petals nestled in nurturing green leaves perched on branches that together form a perfect cone jutting up to the sky. When in bloom, the fullness of color overwhelms one’s view.

But it’s not the cherry blossom.

The pinkish buds on the cherry tree’s bushy curvaceous branches seem to all race each other to reach the sky in a hodge-podge of color.  It radiates joy.

But it’s not the cherry blossom.

The white dogwood’s elegant limbs build upon each other as if a ladder of snow climbing up to the heavens.

But it’s not the cherry blossom.

What is it, I wondered, that sets the cherry blossom apart?

Is it the color?

While there is a hint of pink, the dominant color is a snowy white, as if the winter’s due has been captured therein, proving to the world that this tree has come through the cold undaunted.

Is it the bud?

The petals form an almost perfect sphere, divine in shape, whole, perfect, a universe unto itself.

No.  The color is impressive, the petals globe-like, but it’s the branches that make the cherry blossom sublime.

While all other budding trees this time of year curve up to the sky, as if reaching for heaven, the cherry blossom reaches not up but out, its branches careening oftentimes at right angles to the trunk, sometimes even curving downward toward the ground at the end, as if it has already discovered heaven in its perfect buds and is simply offering it to its neighbors in love.

Go see for yourself: you don’t have to reach up high to touch a cherry blossom branch. It’s branches are reaching out toward you already.

To you, this season, I offer a generous embrace of the hope of heaven on earth.

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