Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Happiness is...a stroll amongst the cherry blossoms.

Sometimes I forget that I live here.  Well, the past few weeks I haven't really 'lived' anywhere but my couch, which totally doesn't count.  But I finally had a couple of nights of semi-restorative sleep and fell prey to the enticements of a friend to go out after work and enjoy the cherry blossoms. And as I wandered through the hordes of people (tourist season is already upon us), past the monuments of stone and water I was struck again by the beauty of this amazing city that I sometimes take for granted. It's only a 15 minute or so car ride from my house across the river to the heart of it all, depending on traffic, but too often that river can feel as vast as an entire continent instead of just a short bridge span long. I definitely don't venture over it often enough.

This year marks the centennial of the gift of the 3,000 cherry trees from Japan that line the tidal basin around the Jefferson Memorial. Each year there are countless predictions of peak bloom time around which a month-long festival is planned.  There are parades and dances, concerts and special restaurant menus, races and tons and tons of people.  It's quite the extravaganza.

In past years I've been able to see the blossoms at sunrise and in the height of the day's sun, but this year we hit it just prior to sunset and it was spectacular. The opening ceremony and official kick-off of everything isn't until Sunday but because of our unseasonably warm winter the peak bloom time has already begun. The air was heady with the scent of the millions of blooms and warm enough that I didn't even need a jacket until well after the sun had set. The sun was dipping low in the sky as we set out throwing a golden glow over everything it touched (though it did make picture taking a little difficult!) And then the night came on slow and dark but sprinkled with the lights reflecting off the white stone of all the monuments and memorials. (I love DC at night!)

At the far end of the basin is the newest addition to the memorials, one for Martin Luther King, Jr. It's had its share of controversy in its short existence which I can understand, but it's also quite striking and impressive standing 30 feet high or so. (And seeing it made one more thing I can cross off my DC bucket list!)

(BTW-If you've never been to the nation's capitol I would heartily encourage you to do so, and to visit during spring when she's dressed in her finest and bursting all over with loveliness.)

It had all the makings of a practically perfect evening and went a long way to restoring some energy and some much needed faith in the world and my place in it. Now if I can just figure out how to slow down time enough to get done all of the things I've neglected the last little while and still find time to stop and smell the roses cherry blossoms occasionally...any ideas?

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