Snow Falling on Sakura

Yesterday was the beginning of the National Cherry Blossom Festival in Washington, described as the country’s greatest celebration of spring.

But today, the District woke up to snow falling on sakura.

Cherry Blossoms - March 27, 2011
Cherry blossoms framing the Jefferson Memorial. (Photo: Robert Yule)

The cognitive dissonance of it all inspired a haiku from me this morning:

 Snow gently falling

Mingling with white petals

Winter meeting spring

Okay, so I’m no Basho, but I felt this rare snowfall in late March was worthy of commemoration.

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Butterflies in the District

Over the weekend, I discovered a new connection between butterflies and the District – in addition to the Butterfly Pavilion at the Natural History Museum.

I was at a matinee of the opera Madama Butterfly on Sunday, performed by the Washington National Opera at the Kennedy Center.

An original poster from an early production of Madama Butterfly.
An original poster from an early production of Madama Butterfly.

The performance was great, and it made me nostalgic for the couple of years I spent living in Japan. It’s set in the city of Nagasaki, which was just a few hours away from the small town where I lived on the island of Kyushu.

I visited Nagasaki several times, including the famous Glover Garden overlooking Nagasaki Bay. It’s attached to the oldest Western house still

standing in Nagasaki, whose Scottish owner married a Japanese woman and was said to have inspired the short story Madame Butterfly. It was later turned into a play, and finally the opera by Italian composer Giacomo Puccini.

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