A large cherry tree stands just across the street from our home at the corner of my son’s preschool. Each spring the tree carpets the playground and the street with blossom petals deep enough for children to scoop up handfuls and toss in the air.
On a recent warm Sunday afternoon as I was going inside, a burst of wind came around the corner and spun up the street, making a tornado of pink petals. For a time, it was like standing inside a snow globe that had been shaken. Visually stunned, I watched for several moments before rushing inside get a camera. When I returned it was gone. The only trace of the scene was the many petals that had blown inside the door. If not for that, I might have thought it something I’d imagined. But there was irrefutable proof, I had seen it.
At roughly the same time across town a friend, Toshinau Morishige, Chairman Emeritus of Ogilvy Japan, and one of the most respected people in Japan advertising, had come to the end his long, productive life. And so two days later, on a shiny morning, we went to Gaienmae to pay our respects. There was a list of condolences from CEOs of great companies, but the greatest tributes were the red, teary eyes of the support staff who always knew they could talk to him. Executive and secretary alike were there to confirm it to each other. Yes, indeed, we hadn’t imagined it: He was that good.