Mommy and Emily 3-30-08;
Washington D.C. Cherry Blossoms

I never really understood what the big deal was about the Cherry Blossom Trees in D.C, and than yesterday, I witnessed it in person.  I get it now. 

It’s a combination of circumstances that makes the annual blooming of the Yoshino Cherry Trees so special.  It’s the flowers, the backdrop of our nations capital, and the people.

The Cherry Blossom festival isn’t just something you drive around and look out the window of your car like fall folliage in Indiana or Bluebonnets in Texas.  You get to be inside the trees…literally…as you walk around the Tidal Basin.  The branches arch over your head and down to the water.  It’s a balcony of pink flowers from trees with deep dark trunks and branches.  A sea of pink and chocolate…and a sea of people

Wow was it crowded!!  Even though it was a breezy 45 degree “spring” day, tens of thousands came out to follow this narrow path around the Tidal Basin with the Jefferson Memorial along the way.  All different walks of life in one place doing the same thing…photographing their families in God’s beautiful creation. 

Walking along the path we saw every color of person and heard a dozen different languages.  At first I thought, “how international”.  But, then I corrected myself, no….”how American.”  I was struck with the realization that we are a country of all kinds…and no matter how different we look and talk, we all still have the same core values…each other…family…and the freedom this country provides.

I saw families of all colors, shapes, and sizes sprawled out on blankets under blossoming pink flower trees with picnic baskets full of goodies enjoying the view, and each other on a Sunday afternoon. (wish I would have thought of the picnic….will do next year!)

It was common for us to stop and offer to take a picture for other families in front of the cherry blossoms so everyone could be together.  People waited patiently while perfect stranges posed for their picture as to not walk by and get in the frame.  Everyone was polite. 

Dogs on leashes.  Children in strollers.  Parents armed with cameras.  Grandmas and Grandpas smiling.  America at it’s best and beautiful. 

I’m so glad we decided to wait until my mother, or “Ga-Ga” as Emily calls her, was in town too.  We delayed our trip for a day so she could see it with us while she was visiting.  It wouldn’t have been the same without her there.  Her love for nature, her quoting of the scientfic name for all types of flowers and folliage, and her photography skills were priceless. 

And now I understand what the Cherry Blossom Festival in Washington D.C. is really about.  Family.  Getting everyone together on a Sunday afternoon in the park, taking pictures, having a picnic, and enjoying the view.

View of Jefferson Memorial between Cherry Blossoms