Birmingham Botanical Gardens Cherry Blossom Festival

You know that place where you live that you always forget is so wonderful until you stand in the middle of it after a long time away? That place for me is the Birmingham Botanical Gardens, where I took Nate today to experience the Cherry Blossom Festival in their Japanese Gardens, hosted by the Japan-America Society of Alabama.

An annual event, I saw more press about it this year, perhaps because of an interest in Japan in light of the terrible disasters of recent. Admittedly, it was part of the reason why I decided to pack up the kiddo and drive to the Gardens, if for nothing else than to be reminded of the beauty of Japan, which lingers as memories from a trip there nearly a decade ago.

We weren't alone -- throngs of people turned out to walk the trails, eat from bento boxes, and look for koi in the pond. Now this is something you don't usually see in Birmingham, Alabama:

Nate wasn't so sure about hanging out in the Botanical Gardens at first:

But he figured out a few things quickly, skipping rocks into the otherwise serene pond. Sorry, Zen-like friends.

And then, hide and seek by the red bridge:


There were also tiny goldfish from the Central Alabama Koi Society (who knew?) and oragami crafts.

It was a good day. We talked about Japan and he found pleasure in something non-electronic. I remembered to keep in mind this spot that I love, and forget about, and plan on sneaking off there soon for a lunchtime breather. [More photos in my Flickr account at right.]

Here's to cherry blossoms, and Japan.

Related Links:

LetsJapan - By Birmingham writer @allthingsjapan

Small Japan Quake Memorial Established at The Birmingham Museum of Art

Birmingham Botanical Gardens Japanese Gardens