Cherry blossoms—peak today, gone tomorrow

Living in DC, I find that spring is not only marked by the longer days and warmer temperatures, but by a flurry of flowers and flora-seeking visitors. In case you haven’t heard, the Cherry Blossom Festival is kind of a big deal here in the nation’s capital, especially this year, which marks the 100th anniversary of the Japanese ambassador bringing the blossoms to Washington as a gift of friendship. Short of hopping a flight to Kyoto, DC is the place to be for viewing these milky buds, which appear pink but are actually white.

What I was expecting, c/o National Geographic

The previous weekend was “peak viewing,” but chilly temperatures and a mob of tour buses kept me from making the three-mile trek to the Tidal Basin. In one of those heartbreaking sequences where you already know the outcome but secretly hope you’re wrong, I arrived Saturday with a friend to find a circle of green sakuras lining the basin. A lone pink tree (which may or may not be an authentic Yoshino) stood near the Jefferson Monument with a crowd of post-peak-petal peepers flanking its side. My friend and I laughed at our poor timing, and a coworker who we bumped into remarked that she “does this every year.” I’m cutting us both some slack and blaming the recent rain and wind for the buds’ hasty departure.

What I actually got: blossomless cherry blossoms

The famed blossoms might have left for the year, but plenty of flowers (and tourists) still remain. Unlike those cherry blossom that I d hoped to snag? They sold out in three hours at the post office. Hello, Festival Fever.

Might not be a celebrity tree, but plans like this one continue to brighten DC

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