The Cherry Border

Spring is hands-down my favorite season at Swarthmore. This year, however, it’s been a bit of a slow start. It warmed up before spring break…and then a snowstorm hit. Then things finally started looking up—the true measure of spring is here: the cherry trees were in bloom.

According to an arboretum brochure, the Cherry Border at Swarthmore was first planned in 1931 and contains 34 varieties of cherry trees. The Cherry Border itself is located on the edge of campus, past the Friends Meeting House. I can see the blooming trees like a pink cloud from my room in Parrish Hall—an invitation to take a moment and explore.

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I was finally able to do so on a Thursday in April. The whole day it had been raining, but as my last class of the week finished up, so did the rain, and I decided to take a moment of self-care and walk to the Cherry Border. The water-soaked ground squished under my rain boots as I walked over to the first tree I saw. I checked the tag on the trunk: a weeping cherry tree. It had long, thin branches spotted with pink, crinkly flowers that bent down around me like a hug as I reached up to take a picture of the blossoms.

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Wandering on, I stopped by a Yoshino cherry tree, whose blossoms were gathered in clumps, forming spheres of flowers that covered the branches, looking like a cotton-candy cloud of springtime. I breathed in the fresh air and marveled at the beautiful color contrast between the delicate pink of the cherry blossoms, the emerald green grass, and the sky. And when a breeze blew through the meadow, the rustling of the branches accompanied hundreds of petals falling through the air, and for a moment, I felt like the protagonist of an anime.

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What was normally a five-minute walking path became a 40-minute walking meditation: an exercise in mindfulness and appreciation of the natural beauty that is so readily available on Swarthmore’s campus.

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