Cherry Blossom Festival — in Yellow!

Today in Tucson we were invited to a Spring Luncheon in honor of — a palo verde tree in full glorious bloom:

Photo by Peter Hovell

The magnificent tree was the focus and honored subject of the luncheon, just as it might be in Shinto Japan.

Guests wore something yellow, and we ate, among other things: curried onions, warm potato mélange mostly mini Yukon Gold, chick pea salad, corn bread with jalapenos, spicy corn dip with yellow tortilla scoopers, chicken and yellow squash casserole, orange salad with olives, deviled eggs (of course!), shredded carrot salad, American cheese and cheddar cheese.

The theme clear?

For dessert, pineapple spears and yellow mini-cupcakes (but also Ghirardelli bars and chocolate chip cookies, because there are limits, after all, to any theme). White wine, of course. The hostess received a gift of a big orange cauliflower, and as it happened, the retired plant geneticist who had developed it was one of the luncheon guests.

The witty and gracious hostess from Minnesota had had her inspiration some years ago in the night: a Japanese impulse “translated” to the American Southwest. Like cherry blossom festivals in Japan, the party happens at the whim of the tree, not the humans. The palo verde can blossom early in April in Tucson (as this year) or later in May (as last year).

And once it blooms, the party must be held almost at once, because — again like the cherry blossoms — its yellow flowers will fade and fall within 10 days or less. It is this ephemeral quality,  which must be seen and appreciated on its own terms and in its own time, which constitutes the beauty of Japanese Aware (ah-wah-reh).

This is the first — and only — palo verde I’ve seen blooming so early in Tucson this year. It occurs to me that it’s because it’s responding to the warmth of its welcome, a reciprocity between woman and tree which — if not perhaps botanically true — certainly rings true in another dimension than our mundane three.

Welcome, Spring!

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10 Responses to Cherry Blossom Festival — in Yellow!

  1. Pauline says:

    I’m all for multi-dimensions and affinity between humans and trees 🙂

    You are having such a good time there and it’s generous of you to share it here! You almost make me change my mind about Arizona…

  2. Christine says:

    Very pretty – and a good story! Sounds like a fun celebration of nature’s beauty…

  3. Stef says:

    Wow, that tree is phenomenal! And I adore the oceanic jump from Japanese cherry blossoms to Arizona palo verde – fabulous! 🙂

  4. Wanda says:

    And to think we’re still waiting for, well, anything to blossom (although we have the lovely crocus, which would be harder to gather around for as snow was still in the air). Thanks for posting this—all the connections and interrelations… A toast to life!

  5. Aiko says:

    Hello from Japan.
    We had a Cherry blossom festival in pink,too.
    Please enjoy this beautiful season!!!

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