Exactly a week ago I bundled up and headed down to the tidal basin to hear a National Park Service talk about the history of the DC Cherry Blossoms. The talk was interesting, the story's ups and downs was fascinating, but the lack of blooms was disappointing. I ended up hanging around for a tour of the Jefferson Memorial which I wrote about here. I promised myself that I would return when the blossoms eventually made their appearance, but to be honest it was starting to feel like it would never happen.
It turns out that a lot can happen in a week. Nearly overnight winter morphed into summer, jackets were replaced with flip flops, weather records were set, and the cherry blossoms burst onto stage.
I wasn't the only one who had been eagerly awaiting their arrival. There were plenty of tour groups, a plethora of photographers, and pockets of impromptu picnics which led me to alternate between cherry bliss and grumpy annoyance about sharing this experience with so many others. I am glad I made the spontaneous decision to head down there early this morning and not to attempt it later in the day or on the weekends when the festival events are happening.
My favorite spot for sakura viewing was near the Martin Luther King Memorial. The older trees with their gnarled branches form a pink canopy that would occasionally shift with a breeze and send petals raining down like shooting stars...a magical reminder to savor the moment even if it is done with hundreds of strangers who have also been lured out of their normal routines to see these flowering gifts from Japan.