New York’s Japan Day: A Centered Orientation
Bloom: I was a Flower of the mountain yes…..
While she spoke of a rose in her hair, I conjure that in his haiku-like streaming of the consciousness of Molly Bloom Joyce’s own subconscious may have whispered ‘cherry blossom’. And, in keeping with the Zen of his pen, perhaps he presaged a subsequent chronicler of the poetry of the promised effulgent fruit to come:
“I want to do to you what spring does with the cherry trees.” (Pablo Neruda)
It is in this spirit–almost literally–that this offered depiction is made of the fitting union of Central Park as the ‘yes’ of New York’s apple reputation (that fruit’s stern-sounding genus being ‘Malus’) with the seductive serenity of that bloom whose genus is called ‘Prunus’.
As Zen master Shunryu Suzuki has taught the West, ‘….we study Buddhism to study ourselves.’
Copying nature’s feminine rule (as well as Joyce’s voice in naming ‘yes’ the ‘female word’), this bloom appears to us as briefly as a cloud, a picnic spread upon some natural knoll, in that Park, for a brief interval, much like that Park. Imagine a young woman, Hanami Sakura, whose soul does say ‘yes’ to the fleeting bloom, again joining with her sister Molly Bloom’s long-suffering celibacy from nature’s joyous display.
Since before New York was a place, her Park unimagined as a bloom within that space, ‘flowers’—perhaps the one imagined by Joyce in Ms. Bloom’s hair—have been synonymous in haiku with ‘sakura’.
In perhaps playful contrast, then, to this spiritual analogue are depicted the vertical heights of stone, glass and avian, in keeping with the fruit-bearing species Prunum Avium (for ‘The Big Apple’ appellation), as well as the tradition that most Japanese schools and public buildings have cherry blossom trees near them.
And, just as Central Park may be seen as a vernal island, replete with such human fancies as strawberry fields, it is that analogous status which may be seen to, on Japan Day, feature that oriental custom in meterology as the ‘sakura zensen’ or cherry blossom front, which migrates from Okinawa in January and reaches invisibly in warmth Kyoto and Tokyo into March and April.
‘Neath the arbors and avians and ateliers of commerce, then, perhaps, may be barely seen this Hanami Sakura, whose brief joyful repaste, befitting a mountain flower of delicate sinew, is mirrored in the blissful eyes of a monk’s visage.