Every April, my mom asks my dad to drive along Highway 105 and Highway 6 to look at the wild bluebonnet in bloom. She likes the flower viewing drive as much as the Japanese are into their hanami (花見, cherry blossom flower viewing). I say my mom is too girly, but there’s really something amazing about looking at the flowers in full bloom. It’s invigorating and fulfilling, and yet so calming.
By the time I can resurface from the ocean of my work and gasp for some air, the cherry blossoms at the Japanese Tea Garden are mostly gone with the crazy San Francisco wind. But plenty of other flowers have started blooming or are at their peak: azalea, wisteria, iris, some flowers that I don’t know the names… and the more resilient yaezakura (八重桜 , double-layered cherry blossom) (I’ve uploaded the pictures at the garden here). As I walked by some of them, the sweet aroma infiltrated my thoughts.
We grasped a table outside near a pink yaezakura, which overlooks a pond with some gigantic koi, a walkway brightened by red azalea, young pierus leaves and the greenest of trees. We made some oolong. In this setting, shincha (新茶) or gyokuro (玉露) would probably be most fitting, but the floral, gently sweet, easy-going Four Seasons oolong does the job. It relaxes us, it doesn’t demand extreme attention so we can talk and look at the scenery, it’s light like a petal.