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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Asia (02/26/09)

TITLE: With Cherry Blossoms in Her Hair
By Jim McWhinnie


Like a soft and gentle springtime snow, the cherry blossoms floated from the trees upon my quiet, winding path. I thought how beautiful, how delicately exquisite, how wonderful to be here in this place and time. Somehow I had wandered into a cloud of heaven that had drifted down and touched the earth.

I slowed my pace to but an occasional step. I wanted to linger here, losing myself in these tender moments of timelessness. I wanted to become lost in forever. I looked skyward into the warming sunlight so that one by one the delicate flowers of pink and white might kiss my face before passing on to the path below. I drew long, deep breaths so that I might fill my soul with the lightly perfumed whisper of a breeze. I would close my eyes so that my ears might catch the songbirds in their rejoicing, the laughter of distant children in their playing, the air rustling the trees in their glorifying God.

Then as I drifted deeper and deeper into my bliss, I felt a tiny tugging on my sleeve. I reluctantly opened my eyes and turned my gaze down toward a little Japanese girl with cherry blossoms in her hair. She gave to me her smile, then lifted her hand upward to me. In her hand sat a little bird clothed in white and pink feathers as if the bird herself had been created out of the cherry blossoms themselves. The little bird, she too looked up to me. She chirped and waited for my response, whatever my song might prove to be.

I was lost in the magic of this interlude, a little girl, a little bird, so much at peace with each other and so much at peace with me -- no fear at all, none at all. I thought the bird must have been wounded, but she was not. She had drifted down from the cherry trees among the falling blossoms. And this little girl with cherry blossoms in her hair had lifted her from the earth with her loving, gentle hands.

I could not figure out at first what the little girl expected of me. I knew only English and I sensed she knew only Japanese. She then pointed with her other hand. “Up there in the tree, a nest.” Then I slowly began to understand. She had lifted this bird as far she could and she needed me to lift the bird a little further.

And so I did. The bird returned to her nest and her siblings there. The little girl with cherry blossoms in her hair, she smiled at me then took off to other worlds. The little bird sang to me as I strolled down the path.

Looking back, it all felt like ... well, it all felt like the peace of God, the gentle grace of God that lifts us higher and higher into that realm where heaven and earth do mingle, the place where cherry blossoms fill the air.

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This article has been read 808 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Lynda Schultz 03/05/09
Very poetic and mystical as though this were a vision, a dream (?) and not an actual happening.
Charlene Reid03/05/09
Very nice!
Sheri Gordon03/06/09
Very sweet story...I could picture the two little girls.

I was a little confused with the one line of dialogue. I thought the little Japanese girl was 'speaking,'--since she was the one pointing--but the words are in English.

Nice descriptive words. Good job.
Eliza Evans 03/06/09
Oooo, Lovely.

Thanks for the escape into cherry blossoms. :)
Some lovely images here.

The tense gets confusing. Its hard to know if it is happening in present tense or if she is just imagining/desiring it because she is so intoxicated by the radiant cherry trees.

In a way ,,, not knowing if it is real or a dream is part of the charm here.

Love the title.

Gregory Kane03/07/09
Beautiful writing, tender and mysterious.
I agree that the one line of dialogue sits awkwardly. Better to have omitted the speech marks entirely and left it as reported speech. But that aside, you have crafted something very lovely here.
If you haven't already done so, let me encourage you to read a number of our entries from Beginner's and to leave comments for your fellow writers. That way, we can all learn together.
Millicent Pat-Nwaoyo03/08/09
Very tender... I felt at peace while reading your story. Thanks for letting me know how important are the little things of life. I wish you luck.
Beth B03/08/09
Enjoyed the very descriptive story. I also had a sense of peace while reading it. Thanks for sharing.
Debra Smith03/09/09
Beautiful descriptions, felt the peace and quiet, it was refreshing.
Aaron Goulet03/09/09
I enjoyed the intentional peaceful descriptions. very nice.
Aaron Goulet03/09/09
I enjoyed the intentional peaceful descriptions. very nice.
Mona Purvis03/10/09
So lovely written. Soft. Sweet. You painted a picture of serenity with your words. I really enjoyed it so much. Great writing. A winner!

Deborah Porter 03/13/09
Hi Jim. Just a quick note to congratulate you on your 3rd Place win this week, and also to let you know you made it into the Top 30 overall as well. "With Cherry Blossoms in Her Hair" ranked 27th in the highest rankings. Well done!

If you'd like to check the highest rankings for yourself, you can find them here:

The highest rankings are posted every Thursday evening on the Message Boards.

If you haven't already moved up to Level 2, now's the time to do it. :-)

Congratulations again. With love, Deb (Challenge Coordinator)
Beth LaBuff 03/15/09
I think this place does exist, "the place where cherry blossoms fill the air." I could see all this taking place. This is very well written. Congrats on your ribbon and level placing! (and thanks for your comment on my poem!)