It may be a cliche, as routine as spring’s blooms, but it has to be said: Everybody in Washington, no matter their place on the political spectrum, surely can agree on this: The cherry blossoms are a delightful sign of spring in the nation’s capital, and have been so for 100 years. Tokyo gave Washington 3,000 trees in 1912, and many of the originals are still standing. It is a ritual for folks who live here and for tourists who come here to walk around the Tidal Basin and past the Jefferson Memorial taking in the fragile beauty of the blossoms. And fragile they are — last evening a couple of small breezes created a mini-snowfall of petals. In some places the blossoms cascade over the walkway, with their branches bringing them close to the water’s edge. A number of people were enjoying an evening picnic under the canopy of blossoms; several photographers with their cameras and tripods set up and at least a couple of artists equipped with paints, canvas and easel were all at work capturing the beauty of the blossoms.
Some may be surpised to learn that these signature cherry blossoms can be found in several places in and around Washington. One place where they are in full bloom and as beautiful as at the Tidal Basin is the grounds of the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. A few of the trees also dot the nearby campus of The Catholic University of America. All of the blossoms are at their peak. With rain predicted this weekend, many of the flowers may be gone as many festivities get under way this weekend for the five-week National Cherry Blossom Festival, so some of us feel lucky to have taken it all in when we did.