Although this winter has been very warm, in the beginning of March we found almond trees in full blossom, this time near Capafonts in Prades mountains.
When seen from some distant point, along the dry mountain, they look as little clouds of mist placed regularly on the hill slope.
I wonder when they were object of contemplation for the first time. Japanese parties to celebrate cherry blossom are documented in Heian era, but they can be traced as far back as the Nara period when they reached Japan from the Tang dynasty in China.
Along human evolution, when was it that a hominid stopped his daily run, pursuing a prey or trying to avoid becoming one, to look at a flower in an absolutely disinterested way, and not only as a hint of near season weather change. It is probably a question as hard to answer as when someone laugh for the first time.
I can’t remember either when was the first time that I interrupted something I was doing to look at a flower, or an ant. Pure contemplation is not rare among children, they hold their ability to wonder, and the ability to pure play, like a young cat with a hank. Perhaps later we only look where book guides tell us to.
That’s why I like to watch people in a contemplation state, children absorbed in some little mystery in the street, an expression of wonder in the visitor of an art exhibition. Some mornings when I cycle to work along the beach I can see someone sitting on the sand, looking the sea at dawn, probably without knowing that they could be used as a introductory example in Burke’s or Kant’s treatises on the beautiful and the sublime.