“Mono no aware”

Japan changed me. In a bad way. If you had told college-aged Ouisar-san that she would skip her daily afternoon nap in order to take pictures of a flower field, I would have instructed you to put down the crack pipe. But it happened. Twice.

The first time I drug along a bribed participant, my step-sister, called Lil’ Yale. She’s about fifteen years younger than I am and whether or not it’s a good idea, tends to be game for just about anything. I’ve been dragging her around for several decades, but thus far she hasn’t realized “no” is an option. Only a big sister’s muscle would get a little sister to pay $20 for a hillbilly ride behind a tractor, driven by a faux farmer, to look at flowers.

I was caught in the spirit of “Mono no aware,” the Japanese concept that translates as “the pathos of things.” Enjoying and appreciating something that won’t last forever. In the US, we are most familiar with this term when it’s pumpkin season at Starbucks. Pumpkin spiced lattes, pumpkin frappucinos, and cream cheese stuffed pumpkin muffins turn Americans orange, the hue of our current president.


When I coerced Lil’ Yale in to visiting the Carlsbad Flower Fields in California, it was a cloudy and cold day but the flowers were in full bloom and they were stunning. Lil’ Yale won’t let me post any of the pictures of her with arms upraised to the sky, her back to the camera, in full on Instagram pose mode.

She’s somewhere in the sweet pea maze below. It took her a full 60 seconds to find her way out. I’m convinced she cheated. I think she actually saw the awning of the strawberry tent in the distance and hurdled the “walls” of sweet pea plants to be first in line for strawberry shortcake. (Strawberries are grown in an adjacent field)


The Pacific is a gasp-inspiring backdrop to the ranunculus flowers. The Carlsbad flower fields were started in the early 1900’s with just two colors. Now after generations of mutations, there are at least fifty different shades.





A few delphinium for diversity.


April and May are the prettiest months for flowers in California and the weather is perfect. Don’t tell. IMG_6778

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19 Responses to “Mono no aware”

  1. SP says:

    Lovely – thanks for sharing!


  2. Nita Krumnow says:

    Emily—-The flower fields are so beautiful—The comments about Sissy—aka Little Yale are so appreciated by her Mom and I thank you for dragging Little Yale over the Finish Line—Look forward to seeing you all this weekend❤️I am so proud of her—Your entire family are so loved-


  3. C Siller says:

    Beautiful post. Thanks for sharing!


  4. Patti Brooks says:

    I planted ranunculus one year about ’68-’69. The most beautiful flowers I’ve ever seen! No luck after that.
    Juanita, we are looking forward to seeing you.We are so proud of Littlel Yale too. Lots of hard work and a full time job that travels!


  5. Oh they are so pretty and colorful! I love flowers and flower fields might be the prettiest thing on Earth hehe.


  6. Paul Gannan says:

    I think it was very nice of you to give up your afternoon nap to take your Lil Sis out into the fresh air to see these beautiful fields of flowers. Japan may have changed you, but not in a bad way. It may have made you more aware of your surrounds as can be seen in your beautiful pictures, and now Lil Yale is more aware of her surrounds. Lovely pics and a great story. Paul

    Liked by 2 people

  7. I can’t get over how beautiful those flowers are!! They’re so vibrant!


  8. efge63 says:

    These photos are fantastic and they take me right there. Thank you for brightening the grey here as well! So gorgeous!!


  9. A rainbow even more lovely because you can get so close – and lasts a bit longer than the sky one. Beautiful

    Liked by 1 person

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