Archive for the ‘plum blossoms’ tag
Plum blossoms from Hong Mei Park in ChangZhou formed a beautiful reminder that spring is on the verge of coming bringing with it, a new season of regeneration, a new season of hope. In a strange kind of way, the promise of rebirth is both saddening as well as it is uplifting.
I think of my childhood and the short time I believed in the literal dogma of the Catholic church. Spring, the season of Easter is a celebration of rebirth. But, that rebirth is founded upon death, upon the shedding of blood. The images that come to mind are of a Christ with thorns around his bleeding heart – the colour that is found in these plum blossoms.
Something has to die in order for rebirth to be possible. This is something that happens everyday, in ways that one never thinks about. Hidden within our bodies, cells die in order for new cells to take their place. In our communities, businesses die so that newer versions better adapted to newer conditions can take their place.
Some changes are slow such as the process of changing one’s mind, allowing a new idea to blossom. We cling to an old idea long after it has ceased being useful. As humans stuck in patterns we bring out the big guns in order to resist letting go of the old. It matters little if the old ideas have ceased to work. Like old warriors, we mount a crusade to restore the primacy of an idea that has long since been rendered lifeless by the cosmos.
I remember working with teachers in professional development workshops where resistance often got in the way of real improvements to what was happening in the classroom. All agreed that there were problems, but the act of letting go of old ideas to allow new ones to be tried was resisted as if the new ideas were an enemy. Rather than change, the belief was that everyone else was doing it wrong and that all had to do the same old things harder and more often. Blame was placed on the parents, the children, colleagues, administrators for the problems encountered in the classroom. The common denominator in all of this resistance was a belief in the past as the only truth. Current reality was denied and as a result, the future was sacrificed.
When I see the issues that trouble the world today in places such as the U.S.A., Canada, Libya, Egypt, Afghanistan and numerous other places, I see the same fundamentalism at work, those in power refuse to allow something different to be born. New ideas are purged as well as those who espouse the new ideas. Yet, change does come, eventually, even if it means waiting until the holders of the old ideas have died. It comes back to the idea that rebirth only occurs because of a death.
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.