Cherry Blossom Festival

There are some days when it’s so beautiful outside you can barely concentrate on your work. Yesterday was one of those days. I went out during my lunch hour to mail my taxes and could barely bring myself to return indoors. I was out of the office at 5:00.

I was leaving for Argentina the next day and had a billion things to do, but I couldn’t resist taking a walk in the sunshine, so I headed toward the Tidal Basin to see the cherry blossoms. I love traveling to new places but there’s so much going on in DC that I feel like I miss something wonderful every time I’m away. I hadn’t seen the cherry blossoms yet this year so packing be damned, I was going to see them. I have an insane ability to function on minimal sleep, anyway. I’d pack later.

I didn’t realize it at the time, but the cherry trees were at peak bloom that day. I wandered into a little park between the Tidal Basin and the National Mall. It was like being in Georges Seurat’s A Sunday Afternoon on La Grande Jatte. People were picnicking, lying on blankets beneath flowering trees, and posing in their springtime ensembles taking photos.

I have to say, even though I’ve seen the cherry trees before, it’s striking how beautiful they are. It’s also incredible that you can be in the blocks of concrete masses I call Federal Desert and a couple of blocks away find yourself enveloped in a lacy canopy of white.

What I love about the Cherry Blossom Festival is that somehow thousands of little white flowers inspire what seems to be a contagious romanticism that is rarely otherwise associated with DC. Everyone seemed to be laughing or smiling. This couple was so happy they were falling over laughing almost the entire time.

I often hear comments that DC is power-hungry and bureaucratic. It has been accused of having no real character. But vapid is the last adjective I would use to describe this city. There are so many different types of people, and I don’t care what anyone says — the city is beautiful. Just look at it.

I mean, really, who wouldn’t want to live here? Where else are you going to see that, seriously.

I am so excited to visit Argentina. But I am also so thrilled just to be here. I see beauty in this city every day.

I watched the trees through sunset and walked along the water before going home. Near the Lincoln Memorial there is a quiet row of trees whose branches sweep toward the basin, heavy with tiny white flowers. I dipped underneath one of the canopies and peeked out at the lights beyond.

Packing could wait. This was where I wanted to be right at that moment, right then.

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