They do it properly in Japan. People welcome tree blossom. They pack picnics and take the whole family out to sit beneath burgeoning cherries and plum trees. They really make a point of going out especially to see the blossom.
Here, in Languedoc, we have beautiful flowering trees. First, you get the almonds. They can flower any time from late January onwards. They’re about past their best now, but for several weeks they’ve powdered the lanes through the vineyards with their baby pink set against cobalt winter skies.
Then comes Mimosa. You can smell it as soon as you step outside. A photo of my neighbour’s old tree is one of the random headings I use on my website pages. (All the headers are adapted from my own photographs.)
Just outside my gate, there’s a small square full of flowering cherry. You simply HAVE to take notice of them. If you don’t, you’ll miss the display. The Tramontane will get up, blowing over the Pyrenees, bringing with it sharp blasts of icy air from still snow-covered peaks.
By the time the Tramontane has rushed over the top of these peaks, it stabs you like ice-cold daggers. It blows in threes, the locals tell you. If the wind goes into a fourth day, you can guarantee there’ll be six.
Or the Marin will blow you a hooley from the Mediterranean and there will be mist and more rain than you thought the sky could hold. At the end of it, there’ll be no blossom left to admire.
Beautiful things are often fleeting, so I’m glad I made the small effort of standing outside my garden gate to take this picture while the blossom is at its best.