Today’s image was taken at Hong Mei Park here in ChangZhou, China. The plum blossom is one of the symbols of the Chinese New Year, a symbol of new life. As one site notes about these plum blossoms: “The plum blossoms burst forth at the end of winter on seemingly lifeless branches. They stand for courage and hope.” As I walked through the park, fittingly named Red Plum Park (Hong Mei Gong Yuan), the thousands of plum trees were in various stages of coming to life with red, pink and white blossoms. The park was busy with people and their cameras. For me, the visual symbol of China is a scene which features leafless branches alive with vivid red plum blossoms. I have this scene displayed on my living room wall, the only art work I have bought in China. The walk through the park was enjoyable because of the blossoms and also because of the hint of warmth to come. I left the park knowing that in a few more weeks, when warmer weather arrives, I will return to take more photos and to relax and sit still with the warmth and the scenes.
It’s interesting to see how I am responding to the symbols of hope and courage. There is a lightness of spirit, a lifting of shadows with the approach of spring. I see this lightening of spirit happening to those in my life as well as to the world at large. What is happening around the globe, whether in Egypt or Libya or Wisconscin, U.S.A., is a surge of hope and demonstrations of courage. The darkness hasn’t disappeared, but the flames have been rekindled to lift depression.