Photo & Text by Cat Simril Ishikawa
It has become common to say Spring has sprung, mixing the noun with the verb to the delight of weather announcers everywhere in the English speaking world.
Flowers are indeed springing out of the ground and from trees such as our magnolia and the rhododendrons next to it. Are we supposed to think of new beginnings?
It’s the start of the school year in Japan, though most of my work was in English schools with new terms beginning every month or so. I mostly recall my daughter beginning her elementary school year in April.
Having grown up in LA, to be the start of the school year in September. I attended universities that were in the year, the semester and the trimester systems so one could really start at any time.
I liked starting school, or employment in the fall when I’ve had enough of summer and revel in the first cool days. My energy and curiosity peak.
Tax year also begins/ends in April, in both Canada and the states. This can be a time of dread or a time of expectations but not a time of indifference to anyone who has an income.
I haven’t noticed anyone living on air recently. Beginnings and endings seem to be opposites, but not for accountants who must love April. If you don’t pay your taxes, you can go to jail. If you get a good lawyer, you can be sprung from jail. That is how the word “sprung” is usually used, outside of the context of seasons.
Why does New Year’s begin in January, at least in this culture? It’s cold in January here. Stay inside. Don’t celebrate anything except warmth.
The warming weather does invite me outside, to take pictures and generally enjoy the vitamin D, though worries about skin cancer keep me wary of any prolonged exposures.
Blossoms have sprung into an intense desire to photograph them before they are gone, Streets with lots of cherry trees attract tourists in equally large numbers. Locals are relieved when the cherry blossoms and the visitors have all left. Kids could play in the streets again.
I don’t see the fleetingness of blossoms and flowers in general as ethereal. The Japanese idea of cherry blossoms signifying the shortness of life does not come to my mind when I view them. I figure, now is the time to enjoy cherry blossoms, next it will be time to enjoy something else. Autumn leaves. Ice covered trees. Beauty never sleeps.