We were in D.C. this weekend because my husband is turning thirty-five and when you are turning thirty-five but your grandmother is turning ninety-seven, you go to her to celebrate. I think when a person is ninety-seven years old, she has the right to call any shots she wants to.
Saturday, we took the children to Kenwood, a neighborhood in Maryland. It has lovely houses and quiet streets, but the reason to visit Kenwood at the beginning of April is the cherry blossoms. On every single street, in front of every single house in Kenwood, there are several cherry blossom trees.
If you’ve never seen the cherry blossoms, I strongly advise you to make it your business to be in D.C. one year around Easter. It is one of the most breathtaking sights you could ever hope to see, and frankly, that kind of beauty is about the best reason I can think of for continuing to bother breathing.
They form tunnels of pinkish white with veins of black running through them. No words and no photo can quite describe the sensation of street after street canopied with millions of tiny pink flowers, although there are certainly plenty of folks who try their damndest to capture it on film. Saturday afternoon, the streets were clogged with pedestrians toting cameras, not to mention quite a few morons who took in the cherry blossoms by slowly driving through the neighborhood, not bothering to get out of their cars.
Here’s a little tip, folks: the cherry blossoms are considerably more lovely when you actually walk amongst them, rather than treating them like an amusement park ride.
Of course, my kids were at their grumpiest, all except Lilah who was thrilled to pieces that her grandmother had purchased her some brand spanking new sneakers with pink patent leather and she would no longer have to wear the brown sensible shoes mommy had gotten her. We didn’t last long among the throngs of blossom viewers, because there is no buzzkill like a five-year-old pouting and dragging his feet.
So, Sunday morning, I went back to Kenwood for my run. There were only a few early risers out, as the cars full of Easter-bedizened families had yet to arrive for their photo ops. It was mostly me and the trees.
Again, there are no adequate words. The sensation was similar to being the first people to arrive in the Sistine Chapel, standing alone looking up at the ceiling. Except better, because this was outside.
I am a nature person. I like to be outside. I like winter because snow is so overpowering – it requires us to stop and respect its space. I love rain storms for their intensity. And I mostly love how the snow and ice and rain come to fruition in the spring as things start growing and blossoming. I respect the snow because it gives us things like the cherry blossoms.
The cherry blossoms are stunning because they are ephemeral. They last for only a few weeks, and then they give way to other seasons. Summer is brutal in D.C., fall is short, and winter is unpredictable. But, for a few short weeks, there is a beauty that can only come from the changing of the seasons. Every year, they will fall off the trees. But the next year, they always come back.