Paris? Kyoto? Florence? Of course. Washington, DC? Really? Yes, really. Like those magnificent cities east and west of us, this city by the river undergoes a major transformation with the arrival of spring. I’m even tempted to say that the city, and in some very dramatic way, gets in touch with its sensitive side. Even the light is transformed during this time of the year, with grey, overcast days giving way to skies that are so blue that you could be forgiven for thinking you were staring at the heavens in Provence. The longish days, with their mellow temperatures and orange morning light, are nothing short of nature’s unabashed public display of affection for us all. And everywhere you look, from the small John Marshall Place Park along Pennsylvania Avenue, to the mighty Capitol grounds, and beyond to the breathtaking Cherry Blossoms lining the Tidal Basin, you are rewarded by nature’s unselfish color spectacle. In this light, and under endless pink canopies that nature so graciously has shared with us for too brief a moment, it is easy to forget Paris, Kyoto, and Florence. In fact, they never came to mind. I had my city instead.
Have you taken the time to enjoy the colors of the season? I hope you have, as nature provides us with a spectacle that is easy to take for granted when you have lived in the northern hemisphere for far too long. Having grown up in the tropics, I remember that as a child I constantly gazed at magazines full of photographs of colored trees and of leaves that formed golden carpets over the remaining green grass of the fall season. As a young man thousands of miles from this incredible color spectacle, I couldn’t help but daydream about what it would be like to live in a house with one of those big, orange or red trees adorning our front yard. It was a vision and a dream that lasted for several decades until I could feel, and for the first time, the cool breezes of an approaching winter under one of those magnificent trees. Every fall season I can’t help but remember those childhood dreams and that first time I stood face-to-face in front of one of those colored trees. It was magic. And it still is.