Blooming into Greatness

“The significance of the cherry blossom tree in Japanese culture goes back hundreds of years. In their country, the cherry blossom represents the fragility and the beauty of life. It’s a reminder that life is almost overwhelmingly beautiful but that it is also tragically short.”

~Homaro Cantu

MAY we share the best known secret about the “common” weather pattern for this time of the year in central Canada (southern Ontario, & Toronto to be precise)?! Rain, Rain, Rain. So much so that we can share this fun fact: water levels in Lake Ontario reached highs this year not observed in decades, all due to rain downpour.

High_Park_in_Bloom
Cherry blossoms in the middle of High Park in Toronto. (Credit: Wikicommons)

“The cherry blossoms are so beautiful and [we] thought it would be a great location to shoot…My love for photography started with my dad. Growing up he had a SLR camera and used it often to capture our childhood. High park was one of the popular places we visited and took pictures at. With she.lace it gave me the opportunity to take some photos and showcase a very popular event in Toronto. I couldn’t wait for my chance to shoot there.”

~Jamila Husbands, she.lace co-founder

How about we just say, “May showers bring spring flowers.” The unofficial start of Spring is also synonymous with another beautiful branch of nature: Cherry Blossom Trees. Here’s some irony for you in the vein of “too much of a good thing, is no good at all”: the rain helps induce the blossoms to flourish, but once in full bloom rainfall actually contributes to them withering away. Very interesting duality, we’ll get back to that.

HISTORY LESSON ALERT

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Kon’nichiwa! One of the many gifts of Japanese culture is the Sakura tree. The west-end Toronto park known as High Park is one of select few sites in the city where these beautiful trees call home. The history of High Park itself is way too rich and detailed to delve into right now. So, let’s just focus on the Cherry Blossom Trees. They date back to 1959 when the first Japanese cherry tree was presented as a gift from Tokyo. In addition to that, the park’s large amount of trees can be attributed to the Sakura project.

And, we’re back to duality. Not to harp on mother nature too much, but it’s a perfect storm back into this concept. Notice, in the intro, we used the word “common” when describing the seasonal weather?! Well that was a little “tongue & cheek” sarcasm that most Canadians would understand.

There is NOTHING common about Canadian weather. And no, we’re not putting on our climatologist hat… We’re just saying Canadian weather is about as predictable as a toddler’s behaviour during the “Terrible 2s” phase.

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(Sorry no fahrenheit conversion, but you get the gist).

So, what’s the point?! To suggest that something is common is not to assert that it’s predictable. The traditional element of something that is common is what is predictable. Allow us to explain using a relevant example…

COMMON
Every year the High Park Cherry Blossoms bloom around the end of April/Early May. The length of time for peak bloom varies from year-to-year, but it’s fair to say there’s an average window of two weeks. The strength of the pigment of the blossoms is also another variable that’s hard to pin-point. What we do know is that they’re beautiful to observe, regardless.

TRADITION
At the end of April/beginning of May if you find yourself in the Swansea/High Park area be prepared for large crowds. Here’s a checklist:

  • All the streets that border the park, GRIDLOCK
  • No street parking
  • 1:1 ratio of DSLR cameras to people
  • LOTS of ice cream vendors, consequently
  • LOTS of smiling children

It may not be known precisely when the Cherry Blossoms will bloom, the duration or the vibrance of the colours they’ll display. But the “tradition” for this common act of nature is that people will come in droves to enjoy the beauty. See, she.lace isn’t against all traditions 😉

This concept perfectly describes our lovely model.

IMG_8874 - Vanishing Travis

Meet the “unpredictable” Kayona John, a self-proclaimed “non-sneaker” person… We’ll fix that in due time.

“Sneakers aren’t my first choice of shoes on a day to day basis, however I do love sneakers. I love how comfortable they are and the ability a fresh pair of sneakers have to complete an outfit.”

BUT, don’t be frightened by that “rude gyal” pose you see Kayona striking… She’s as gentle and delicate as Cherry Blossom petals. Check out our Q&A:

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Why the Nike Prestos?

Kayona: When I was in Grade 7 or 8 I got my first pair of Nike prestos. I remember wearing them until they had rips and my toes were poking out.  I wore them on a day-to-day basis to school as well as to run track & field. I remember being very sad when my mom said it was time to let them go. Naturally when prestos were released again, without hesitation I bought a new pair.  I love how comfortable yet stylish the shoes are, and I feel like they somehow give me a clean-grown look while allowing me to experience a nostalgia that brings me right back to all the fond memories I had with sneakers as a child.

Was that your first time visiting High Park for the Cherry Blossoms? What did you think of it?

Kayona: My photo shoot at High Park was my first time seeing the Cherry Blossoms. I think that the blossoms are beautiful. It was amazing to see how many people the blossoms brought out, as well as how happy everyone was looking at them. One thing that stood out to me was how the blossoms allowed you to interact with complete strangers.  It was easy to have dialogue with people you may not have necessarily spoken to on a regular day.  Mother Nature has a funny way of bringing people from all different walks of life together. It was an overall great afternoon and a experience I will always remember.

What’s your definition of women empowerment? What does it look like?

Kayona: My definition of women empowerment is providing women the necessary tools and mindset that allows [them] to be key role players in every aspect of society. Women empowerment, to me, is also about ensuring that women are self-aware of their capabilities and potentials, and never let their biological make up affect or influence any decisions that they make.  she.lace is a perfect example of women empowerment. This is a platform that allows women to express and show their culture while showcasing their style and personality.

Why did you model for she.lace?

Kayona: I modelled for she.lace because I love the purpose behind the movement.  When it comes to sneakers there is a stigma that men love sneakers more than women. I think that it is very important that as women we support and encourage each other. It is sometimes easy for us to discourage and criticize other women when they are trying to promote positivity and equality.  Being a model for she.lace was my way of supporting and encouraging other women to showcase their personality and style through this platform.

Blossoming with greatness! That’s what she.lace is doing, and that’s what we encourage you to do. There’s a great lesson to discern from the annual Cherry Blossom Tree bloom. When an opportunity to flourish and grow comes your way make sure you act with a sense of urgency because there’s no telling how long it will last. With that being said, “an opportunity passed, isn’t an opportunity lost.” In other words, don’t concern yourself with “missing” an opportunity when you can prepare for when it comes back around.

Only 7 more sleeps until next week’s post, don’t miss us too much!

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