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Changing seasons show us nature's strength
11/21/2007I took a walk in Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden 新宿御苑 on Sunday when this season's first cold wintry wind hit Tokyo. With the drop of temperature in recent days, leaves fell and formed patterns that looked like pointillist paintings on sunny spots on the lawn. With each gust of wind, cherry trees shed leaves of various shades of yellow, red and brown with a rustle.
A short while ago in this column, I marveled at the "multitalented" dogwood, which blooms in the spring, produces colorful foliage in the fall and bears red berries in late fall.
I wrote that compared with the dogwood, which gives us pleasure three times a year, the cherry pours all its life force into its spring blossoms. In response, a number of readers wrote me that cherry trees in the fall aren't so bad, either.
Since the cherry tree is viewed by many as the champion of flowering trees, I was so impressed with its springtime cherry blossom front in Japan that I tended to neglect the changing colors of its leaves.
But some people are observant of the tree's fall sideshow. One reader gave the following description with reference to the random way individual leaves change colors that are slightly different from each other: "It is a gentle and intricate form of supreme art. The use of color is reminiscent of (the French painter Paul) Cezanne." I looked at the leaves up close and was impressed with the observation.
More and more, we hear news of snow from the north. On Monday, the first freezing of the season was observed in Kyushu. At long last, it seems the cold and heat have balanced out. Could it be that the Earth renewed its resolve to put up a fight against global warming?
A consolidated report on global warming published by the United Nations warns that the advancement of global warming depends on how much effort we make to fight it in the next two to three decades.
If we sit back and do nothing, it could cause irreversible damage through the rise in sea levels and extinction of endangered species. Ban Ki Moon, the U.N. secretary-general, said: "The world's scientists have spoken clearly and with one voice. I expect the world's policymakers to do the same."
At a time of abnormal weather, it is good that the four seasons change in proper order. I found myself doing some soul-searching and thought we must change our wasteful lifestyles while nature still retains its resilience as if I were speaking for all humankind. Standing at the threshold of winter, I feel the underlying strength of changing seasons.
--The Asahi Shimbun, Nov. 20(IHT/Asahi: November 21,2007)
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