In a A Time To Be Born, set in New York about 1940, Dawn Powell mentions in passing the sudden importance of Washington, previously thought of only in connection with cherry blossoms and deadly state dinners. Nobody has ever invited me to a state dinner, but I do keep an eye out for the cherry blossoms.
Every year, some of us at my office try to walk around the Tidal Basin at least once while the cherry blossoms are at their best. This year, the peak was probably about Easter. I missed the days before, for I was out of town until Thursday, and the office was closed Friday. I did run down as far as Independence Avenue on Saturday, but to run around the Tidal Basin through the dense crowds would have been rude even if possible, and would have added a mile and some to a run at about the limit of what I can do these days.
Today a couple of us took the walk. Most of the blossoms were past their peak, most branches about half in blossom and half in leaf; a decent arborist could tell you which kinds of cherry they were. But about a fifth of the trees were in full blossom, and all were beautiful. The crowds were thinner, so that we could walk without jostling, and with less care not to intrude on photographs.
We did dodge photographs, but five or ten rather than dozens. Of the photographs I saw in progress, two caught my attention: a young woman, sitting on the slope, tossing a handful of petals to be caught by the picture; another young woman, with a floral wreath on her head and a full purple skirt, who apparently was about to dance to some recorded music.
I took some pictures to prove that I was there, and here are two:
And on Friday, they were at about their peak in Mount Pleasant:
I believe that the blossoms appeared a couple of weeks earlier this year than last.