The cherry blossoms of Kabul are truly special.
They’re nothing like the flashy blooms in Washington DC. Instead, they’re reminiscent of the bittersweet blooms of feudal “hanami” in mainland Japan. Then, as now, the blossoms reminded viewers of life itself … beautiful but fleeting.
Spring in Afghanistan has a similar poignancy. As Nate Rawlins points out, spring marks the start of Afghanistan’s traditional fighting season, as insurgents return from their sanctuaries in Pakistan, bringing death and anguish. But spring also marks the end of the cold, barren landscape of winter, as warmth returns to the land, bringing–in many places–a lush growth.
Bottom line: Many days, Afghanistan is a place of grinding despair. But it is also a place of tremendous beauty, especially in the spring. Just look up.