Saturday, March 29, 2008

Cherry blossoms and hailstorms

Originally published
Friday March 17, 2006

2006 has been a year of extremes in stormy weather, but somehow the cherry trees know when its time to bloom. Even though they have been pelted by unseasonable hail and sleet last week, some intrepid trees have managed to blossom and are making a nice show. By next week, I expect my favorite tree on the corner of Grotto and F streets in Henderson Center (Eureka) will be spectacular next week. That is, unless we have yet another merciless storm. Is that more rain I hear on the window?

The plum trees were blooming -- back in early February -- when I made my last post. We've been rather busy since then, doing tea on a fairly regular basis and, as promised, taught another Tea Ceremony seminar at Humboldt State University (HSU) in Arcata. The format for this seminar was much the same as in 2005 (see previous post) and was attended by 20 students, who, for the most part, enjoyed the class. Several expressed interest in continuing study.

Harvey II taught the class and delivered a history lecture. Eric S. made the trip from Portland to assist in teaching the seminar, and he and Kristen J. and Mie M. all did Usucha and Ryakubondate. We were also assisted by John J., Pia G., Annie, Sherry and myself. Shanna C., as always, kept the dogu cleaned, organized and cataloged. Rich P., his wife Gail, and Shanna's husband Eric assisted in moving dogu and the weighty tatami mats (about 20-1/2 in all). (I hope I didn't forget anyone!) We extend our gratitude to Dr. Gwen Robertson, the HSU Art Department and Dr. Richard Paselk for making the course possible, and to everyone who helped that weekend. We truly appreciate everyone's help, it couldn't be done without you all!

Last year, students were given an assignment to write one Haiku poem. This year, they were assigned to write three Haiku: one which was shared with the class, and two to share with fellow guests while enjoying Tea. One student's poem expressed surprise at how physically demanding Tea is (something to the effect of, "More sweets, more tea, quick! My knees hurt!") Another expressed feelings of longing for a loved one's phone call. Several wrote about dogs (for 2006, the Year of the Dog) and about smiles (the theme for Haiku competition in Japan this year). Others observed weather, trees or flowers. All were wonderful.

We're looking forward to another seminar at HSU. If the budget allows, perhaps there will be one in the fall.
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