Budding all along the branches, two branches of Japanese cherry blossoms were brought home not long before Lunar New Year. It’s warm this year and the flowers will be blooming soon – just in time to catch the first day of Lunar New Year, said the florist. Instead they bloomed all over in two days’ time because I forgot the heater was running all night long. I moved the branches to the window side for a refreshing chilly breeze, yet, slowly they kept blooming regardless. Under daylight, there was a faded hue of pink seen on the petals, and fainted fragrance when I sniffed the flowers.
Every morning, I took a look at the flowers. Upon the cusp of wither, even the lightest breeze could make the petals fall, covering the floor. I couldn’t bring myself to clean them up with a broom; I swept them into my palm and put them onto the soil of the tiny lemon tree next to the vase. I wasn’t burying the petals. I merely wished the fallen blooms could end up in a better place. For weeks on end, they withered on. However, The tip of a twig facing the sunlight was found budding. Size of a mung bean, colour of green scallion, the tender sprout stood out on the dry and wrinkled branch, and in just a few days, grew into small leaves co-living with the wilted cherry blossoms.
I recently read about an article on the death of whales. When a whale dies, its carcass continues to fall until it reaches the bottom of the sea. Different oceanic species will consume the mammal, and when it is left to detritus, the fat and oil in the bones will continue to feed the bacteria in the water. “Whale fall” is a chapter where life ends, as well as the beginning of a cycle of life in the blue ocean.
There is a time for growth and decay,
life and death,
sorrow and joy,
separation and reunion.
Nothing lasts forever; they will all meet again in another form of existence.
Cherry Blossoms & Daikon Pickle
Salted Cherry Blossoms* 15 pieces
Preserved Cherry Blossom Leaves* 3 pieces
Rice Vinegar 3 tablespoons
Drinking Water 250ml
- Prepare a sterilized glass jar. Steam the container for 5 minutes. Let cool and dry.
- Wash and peel the daikon. Cut it into the size of a pinky finger.
- Place a cherry blossom leaf flat in the jar bottom, layer it over with daikon and a few cherry blossoms. Repeat until the jar is full.
- Add the rice vinegar to water. Stir well.
- Pour the mixture into the jar until it is full. Seal the jar tight. Marinade overnight.
* Do not wash away the salt.
It’s raining outside, crisp and bleak. Three chubby sparrows took shelter on my balcony and I gave them the baguette bits left on my breakfast plate but they flew away. I stayed in, played Damien Rice on vinyl and made apple crumble. Repeat.