Cherry Chatter

Close Encounter

For a couple of days there I kidded myself that I might miss the Sakura Matsuri cherry-blossom party at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, but when yesterday rolled around there I was sandaling along the Cherry Esplanade, just like every year.

It’s a mixed bag of a season, what with winter ’til April 20th and spring up through the 22nd or so — and since then we’ve entered the rainy season, which I imagine will lead us, monsoon-like, right into steamy summer. The cherry trees along the main drag are just starting to bud their blooms, and along the Japanese Hill-and-Pond Garden the flowers are peaking (whoa dude, check out the colors). The day is warm and partly clouded. My new cell phone has the mandatory pointless camera, so I am able to menace an innocent late-sleeping set of friends with blurred pictures of cherry trees. That’s technology for you.

Two momentary pebbles, snatched from the hand of the day:

Moment #1: I dawdle along the marge of the pond in the Japanese Garden, past the koi and the turtles, shooting pictures of a spray of flowers dripping down a mature Higan Cherry tree (Prunus subhirtella, which my brain immediately renders as “undershirt prune”).

An elderly gent wearing a Kahlua cap edges up and watches me focus and frame. After I take a picture he looks at me pointedly. He indicates the tree with his chin. “Yep,” he says. “Cherry tree. They don’t make ‘em like they used to.” And moves on.

Moment #2: What there is of sun is making “gotta go” moves, and the crowd follows suit. People congregate under the two or three trees in full bloom along the Cherry Esplanade, taking posterity pictures against a backdrop of straining petals.

Three high school boys pose together for a pretty girl trying to put them all in the frame of her tiny camera. There’s a good-looking guy who hasn’t turned cynical yet, a non-conformist guy who hasn’t gone bitter, and a lissome buzz-cut razor-thin boy who may not have had occasion yet to have a good long talk with his gender preference.

He wears a black tee that says No, I will not fix your computer. As the girl jockeys for position, he thrusts out his hip. “Be sure,” he says pointedly, “not to miss the Lizard Man action figure in my pocket.”

About Linus

The man behind the curtain. But couldn't we get a nicer curtain?
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