What I learned from the cherry blossoms

Cherry blossomsThe day my best friend announced that she was getting married I was truly and deeply happy for her. “That’s wonderful!” I said. “Congratulations!” I hugged her in that I’m-a-man-and-you’re-a-woman-but-we’re-just-good-friends kind of way. We happily chatted for a few more minutes until she lowered her eyes in a very sorrowful expression. “And…” she began, lips quivering a little and swallowing a growing lump in her throat. “I’ll be moving in the beginning of April. Kinda to the other side of the country.”

Dear Lord in Heaven…

I was heartbroken — crushed. My dearest friend, my confidant, my buddy… was leaving. I swallowed the growing lump in my throat and said the only thing I could manage: a long, drawn out “Oh…”

Cherry blossoms and the meaning of life

Japan is literally covered in cherry blossom trees (it is the national tree, after all). They are Everywhere with a capital E. Every spring the little buds, upon waking up from their long winter’s nap, bloom into little flowers that paint the countryside in various shades of pink. It truly is an amazing sight to behold. People flock in droves every free moment they have to sit under the trees and enjoy the beauty while it lasts. Read that again: while it lasts.


In as little as two weeks the tiny petals begin to fall, sometimes creating a pink blizzard if you are standing under a grove of trees on a windy day. But within a few days, the spectacle is all over. And the trees look like any other green-leafed foliage. The beauty is gone.

Now some of you may be wondering, “what does this have to do with voice acting?” The answer:

Not a damned thing. Nor should it.

It’s about how fleeting the truly wonderful things in life are. It’s about how many of us chase after more and more of what we think will make us happy without ever stopping to look at the happiness that is already around us. It’s about counting our blessings, because many of us are actually overflowing with them and yet for some dumb reason we ignore them, take them for granted, or even worse, abuse them.

Yes, I know. I’m feeling more than a little melancholy at the departure of my dear friend. Today was the last time we could meet, for early tomorrow morning she leaves. I certainly will miss the times we shared together — the laughter and the tears, the shared dreams and the dashed expectations from life’s hard lessons. And while I know that we will keep in touch with e-mails and the occasional phone call, things will change. They won’t exactly be as they always have been.

And I guess that this is the point I’m really trying to make: that we can’t escape change. All we can do is revel in the joys of the moment before time shifts and the wheels of fate take them away from us.

It’s the lesson that the cherry blossoms teach every spring: enjoy the wonderful and joyous things in your life right now for someday, maybe sooner than you think, they will be gone. But be assured that someday, when the days grow longer and once again warmth bathes the land, such good things will come again.


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