Yesterday I was driving down Solano Avenue, a two-lane boulevard, the Main Street of Albany, California. Lined with prosperous specialty shops and restaurants of every description, it stretches in a straight line from the hills at the top to the ocean at the end. I was with two friends, fellow students of Kyudo, Japanese archery, on our way to have breakfast before class.

Cherry treesWe had squeezed the car into a parking spot, and were walking toward our charming, French-style restaurant to have crepes for breakfast. The street was lined on both sides with cherry trees in full bloom. The deep pink color as far down the road as we could see, carried me into another realm. The town of Albany had invested in more than exotic food and shops. It had invested in something more important, as if to say, “The shops are nice, but here is the important thing– beauty.”

I was transfixed. I have always loved cherry trees, and this sight was magnificent. “Oh, the cherry trees!” I exclaimed. As a famous Japanese artist from Kyoto wrote in exquisite calligraphy, “How happy are people’s hearts in spring when the cherry trees are blooming.”

My friends saw the trees, but they could not feel the beauty because they were busy talking about their battles with depression and the medications they were taking and whether or not the medicines were helping them feel better. They could not see the Divine Medicine right before their eyes. Their inner light switches were turned off. (For more on the light switch see the May 2014 “Open Windows”).

So please keep your lights turned on so that you can see the beauty in small things all around you and be happy.

“Life is not measured by how many breaths you take,
but by the moments that take your breath away.”
– Author Unknown

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