Hello and Happy Deep Thoughts Thursday! Although today is drab and dreary, I’m feeling all sorts of cheery, as we have hit the peak of cherry blossom season here in the DC area! The blossoms decided to pop a little early this year due to the extra sunshine and warm weather that we’ve had during the last few weeks. Taylor, the girls and I are hoping that the blossoms hold on for a bit longer — we have plans to go down to DC for Taylor’s birthday on Sunday and would love to be able to enjoy the Tidal Basin’s spring splendor on his special day. Since we moved to the DC area in 2016, we’ve been fortunate enough to enjoy the blooms in all of their fluffy glory for the the last seven cherry blossom seasons.
Until I became a NOVA transplant, I didn’t realize how breathtakingly magical it is to visit the Tidal Basin during Peak Bloom. Being surrounded by the delicate, fragrant and peaceful petals, which are transplants themselves, brings about such an acute sense of awareness to oneself and one’s surroundings. Despite the usual crowds of people nuzzling their way up to the puffy trees for photos, street vendors selling cherry blossom emblazoned everything, food trucks and infamous DC traffic, the Tidal Basin seems quieter. It’s almost as if the tiny flowers, which can disappear as quickly as they appear, are able to soundproof the entire area from all of the distractions of the outside world.
The last time we visited the cherry blossoms was at the start of the pandemic in March of 2020. We took our chances and rode our bikes from Taylor’s office to the Tidal Basin hoping to catch a glimpse of Mother Nature’s softer side. At that point, we had been in lockdown for a week and were mentally and physically overwhelmed by our new normal. Because of the ever-changing rules and restrictions, we weren’t sure how close we were going to be able to get to the blooms. Fortunately, it was very early on during lockdown and the Tidal Basin was still open to visitors. Instead of weaving our bikes in and out of throngs of people as we had done in past years, we pedaled past a few passersby here and there, making sure to keep as socially distant as possible. Since this was pre-mask mandates and sheer panic, I remember holding my breath each time a fellow biker whizzed by. It was a scary and confusing time, but seeing those familiar little pink and white petals brought me back to a simpler and more comforting place.
The Tidal Basin was closed to visitors during Cherry Blossom Season 2021, so Taylor, the girls and I visited Kenwood, a gorgeous neighborhood in Bethesda, Maryland, in order to get our cherry boo boo (as coined by my dear, darling husband) fix. (NOTE: Until we moved to this area, I had no idea that cherry blossoms could be seen outside of DC/the Tidal Basin. I was pleasantly surprised to learn that cherry trees are planted all over the area — there is a stunning row of trees in front of the girls’ elementary school and trees growing here and there in front of homes and businesses. I tried to snap a photo of a lone tree growing along Pimmit Run, a large stream that runs through our town, but because I was driving, the photo was more of a blur.) Again, we were fortunate enough to be able to enjoy the flowers and first signs of spring, as we walked around the charming neighborhood snapping photos of ourselves among the blooms. It was refreshing to see Mother Nature’s softer side reappear for a second time during another period of transition — from home schooling to in-person schooling, vaccinated to unvaccinated and everything in-between.
It’s hard to believe that another cherry blossom season is about to come to a close. Peak Bloom doesn’t last much more than a week or so — if we’re lucky. A round of rain and thunderstorms blew through our area last night, but the majority of the little blooms held on strong. In addition to the tell-tale puffs, a thin layer of petal “snow” now covers the ground beneath the trees. It’s still a breathtaking sight and one that, each year, reminds me that although our lives are always in flux, it’s the traditional, predictable and always dependable annual milestones that keep me grounded like the cherry trees, but strong enough to blossom.
Until next week, dear readers!