Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Plum Blossoms and Tea

Plum Blossom, a sign of early spring

The Chinese culture appreciates plum blossoms as part of the three friends of winter trilogy:  pine for evergreen, bamboo for its strength and flexibility, and plum blossom for its hardiness to bloom in the coldest time of year.  The Japanese use an entire month (Feb) in the chanoyu calendar to appreciation of ume, or plum blossom. 

It's easy to understand why.  Recently, the DH and I scouted for a plum tree in the forgotten scrub of roadsides and abandoned orchards near us.  None were blooming just yet, but they offered big, fat buds full of hope and promise.  We brought home several branches and within a few days, they responded with these lovely blossoms.

Ume paper lantern, with the DH's artwork in the background

This time of year is like a big magical secret.  The plants are stirring and budding, the birds begin to return.  It's a secret because not everyone notices.  I love the noticing.  It's one of the reasons I also lovey the Japanese Tea Ceremony.  It's full of mindfulness practices of noticing the seasons.

Crane obi and plum blossom kimono, photo by the DH
Thanks to my tea friend who loaned me this very special, seasonal party kimono to wear at a recent outing

The magic of life and adventure...to spy the first crocus fronds before they bloom, to see the daffodils just barely poking their little heads out of the soil, to feel my heart soar with the first sighting of plum branches fat with buds.  The anticipation, it's delicious. 


relevanttealeaf said...

Beautiful plum blossoms - the promise of spring. It's far from spring in Michigan, however, as we're awaiting a winter snow storm with 6 inches of snow. But it will come!
Your hubby's artful plum blossoms on the paper lantern are beautiful, and I know you looked lovely in that gorgeous kimono!

somepinkflowers said...

i learned this wee song
about 100 years ago---->

"" sweet plum blossoms fine & white,
did you open in the night?
yesterday the tree was bare,
now you're covered every where !! ""

i love them, too, missy!!

Steph said...

@relevant tea leaf - Stay warm and dream of spring! I purchased the paper lanter. The DH did the red/black/gild paintings.

@somepinkflowers - love the song!

Marilyn said...

Fun to see somepinkflowers posting here.

I love the first sightings of plum blossoms, crocus, and daffodils. Our daffodils will be blooming very soon. The kimono is really gorgeous.

Teafan said...

That first photo of the plum blossom is really spectacular.

Angela McRae said...

What gorgeous plum blossoms you've shared! And yes, I too enjoy looking for those early signs of spring. Just this morning I saw the purplish leaves of a young peony peeking through. I think these harbingers of spring keep us "hanging in there" for a few more weeks!

La Tea Dah said...

"This time of year is like a big magical secret."

Oh yes! The essence of spring! Loved this post!!!!

Marlena said...

Today I spied some lovely pale lime lichen with frills and lace on a dead branch. They get so bright as Spring begins to waken. Lovely plum flowers, wish I could smell them.

South Bay Ladies' Tea Guild said...

Around here, the cherry trees bloom first. I brought in some little branches from the trolley station, which is "landscaped" (trees in pots) with ornamental cherry trees. The cherry blossoms are falling now, but the peach tree in the backyard is now blossoming, so there is a peach branch and blossom in a glass of water by the kitchen sink where we can all see it. I love fruit tree blossoms!