Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Late Show

The day was warm enough, 74 degrees, so we thought we'd take a walk around the Tidal Basin. Because there is barely a bud, much less a blossom, on any tree in the area, I was surprised by all the traffic down there. We circled the entire basin once looking for parking and then settled on Lot B, beyond the 14th Street Bridge and next to the train tracks at the top of Haines Point.

A short hike later we joined the throngs walking beneath the bare branches of the cherry trees. Sure, there were port-a-potties aplenty, and concession tents, and even a lone singer on the festival stage performing to one or two folks dotting the otherwise empty rows of wooden benches. In the white pop-up souvenir shops they had cherry blossom pencils, cherry blossom key chains, cherry blossom tote bags, cherry blossom puzzles and phone cases and scarfs, cherry blossom magnets and ornaments and lapel pins, and they even had cherry trees in tea tins to take and plant on your own, but those were the only cherry blossoms in sight on this day 12 of the three week festival.

As we sat on a bench under what will be a spectacular bough in a week or so, a woman approached us. "Can I ask you a question?" she started. "What's up with the cherry blossoms?"

We laughed, feeling a little apologetic for our home town. "They're late," I shrugged. "It's been kind of a cold spring so far."

Far from being disappointed, she seemed relieved. "I knew it!" she said. "My friend said we had to go to a special place to see them, but we couldn't figure out where."

"It's here," I told her, "it's just not now. It's supposed to be warm this week, though, so they might be out a bit this weekend," I added hopefully.

She waved her hand. "Just in time for us to leave!"

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