A Few Days Of Heaven

Monument Blossoms

Like happiness, it never last very long. That’s just the way it is, but while it lasts, it is nothing short of heaven. I’m obviously referring to the yearly spectacle that is the Cherry Blossoms blooming season around the Tidal Basin area downtown Washington, DC. That’s right, the same town where politicians have given new meaning to the word hate, but where nature, in spite of their attempt to spoil it, explodes in all its beauty for a few days in March every year. Around the grassy meadows of the Washington Mall, the eternal fights just a few blocks away seem as in a different galaxy. The beautiful bloom of these bendy trees remains as oblivious of the politicians as the politicians remain of their delicate flowers. In fact, the Cherry Blossoms are a happy zone, a zone where smiles and enjoyment of what life has to offer are potent enough to exclude any feeling of unhappiness and dejection. A zone where “public demonstrations of affection” are not only evident everywhere you look, but where they are impossible to repress amongst so much beauty. It is a yearly ritual that only lasts three or four days, but one that that is the clearest symbol of spring and of the beauty, happiness, and hope that still exists in the world. Nature, and people, at their best. The world could use a little bit more of both.

Cherry Blossoms Did Show Up After All

Blossoms Girl

It was a cliffhanger, but the famous Tidal Basin Cherry Blossoms did manage to show up after all. A bit subdued mind you, but there they are along with the crowds. And while the cold, rainy season is kind of putting a damper on people’s mood, it is virtually impossible to walk amongst these wonderful trees and not feel some sort of uplifting, positive force that could can turn any sour Washington bureaucrat into a happy person. And believe me, that is saying a lot. Every year, this beautiful gift of nature appears to remind us that not everything is gloom and doom in this world. In fact, it is a reminder that the dark, cold days of winter don’t last forever, and that there will always be a spring, and flowers blooming, and lovers moved by nature’s spectacle. Life as an eternal cycle, with endless springs to come.

Cherry Blossoms Mark The Arrival Of Spring

The pre-dawn hours along the Tidal Basin showcase the Cherry Blossom trees at their best. [Click photo for larger version]
The pre-dawn hours along the Tidal Basin showcase the Cherry Blossom trees at their best. [Click photos for larger version]
The annual ritual brings people to the Tidal Basin in droves and allows for great photo opportunities.
The annual ritual brings people to the Tidal Basin in droves and allows for great photo opportunities.
When the blooming of the cherry trees, a city not known for public displays of affection, momentarily displays a decidedly Parisian flare.
With the blooming of the cherry trees, a city not known for public displays of affection, suddenly shows a decidedly Parisian flare.

It is a yearly ritual, but it never ceases to amaze. The annual spring blooming of the Cherry Blossom trees along the Tidal Basin in Washington, DC is one of those unique gifts of nature that no matter how many times you have experienced it in the past, the sheer beauty of this blooming spectacle is something not to be missed. Sure, the photos by now have all started to look the same, and the crowds will always descend on the place as pilgrims on a pilgrimage, but it really doesn’t matter. Has anyone ever tired of looking at a pretty face? Or has anyone ever wished for less happiness in their lives? Impossible. In the early morning hours of a perfect spring day, the blossoming cherry trees along the undulating shores of the Tidal Basin are the stuff of fantasies. The pink and white colors of the blooming flowers appear to fight for everyone’s attention, while the cool, misty fog along the water’s surface gradually gives way to the lazy, yellow light of a morning sun. It is a spectacle like no other, and year after year, it will bring us back to see and feel the coming of a new spring. A reminder of how beautiful life can be, and how great it is to be alive.

 

… And Spring Made All The Difference

Japanese impersonators added color to the Cherry Blossoms Festival.  Nikon D800, AF-S Nikkor 50mm f/1.4G.
Japanese impersonators added color to the Cherry Blossom Festival. Nikon D800, AF-S Nikkor 50mm f/1.4G.
No photographic angle was left unexplored by the thousands of photographers who descended on Washington for the Cherry Blossom festival.  Nikon D800, AF-S Nikkor 50mm f/1.4G.
No photographic angle was left unexplored by the thousands of photographers who descended on Washington for the Cherry Blossom festival. Nikon D800, AF-S Nikkor 50mm f/1.4G.
The delicate flowers that attract tens of thousands of national and international visitors to Washington every year.  Nikon D800, AF-S VR Micro-Nikkor 105mm f/2.8G IF-ED.
The delicate flowers that attract tens of thousands of national and international visitors to Washington every year. Nikon D800, AF-S VR Micro-Nikkor 105mm f/2.8G IF-ED.
A city that prides itself on moving fast during during the rest of the year slows down during the yearly festival.  Nikon D800, AF-S Nikkor 50mm f/1.4G.
A city that prides itself on moving fast during the rest of the year slows down during the yearly festival. Nikon D800, AF-S Nikkor 50mm f/1.4G.
At daybreak, musicians welcomed visitors to the Tidal Basin with the sound of rhythmic percussion instruments.  Nikon D800, AF-S Nikkor 50mm f/1.4G.
At daybreak, musicians welcomed visitors to the Tidal Basin with the sound of rhythmic percussion instruments. Nikon D800, AF-S Nikkor 50mm f/1.4G.

Some of the great things that come with living in large metropolitan areas are the mix of cultures and people that constantly come in contact everywhere you go.  Granted, that for some folks those are also the very reasons why they wouldn’t be caught dead in such places.  But no matter how anyone feels, there is no denying that cities are beehives of activity for just about every interest out there.  And the more international the city, the more diversity its citizens will experience on a daily basis.  This diversity has been quite evident during this year’s Cherry Blossom Festival in Washington, DC.  Take a stroll any morning around the uneven shores of the Tidal Basin and you will experience a slew of foreign languages being spoken, people dressed in varied outfits that reflect their country of origin, musicians banging away in some sort of ritualistic rhythm, lovers kissing under trees that glow with the majestic colors of spring, and the sweet aroma of exotic foods competing with nature for your attention.  Photographs may not do it justice, but for the thousands of photographers out there who tried to capture the essence of this brief flowering and human spectacle, there was no better place to be.  And to the Japanese people who kindly made all this possible with their incredible gift, ありがとうございます。(Thank you very much).

Waiting For The Cherry Blossoms

While full bloom remains days aways for the Cherry Blossoms around the Tidal Basin in DC, photographers can be found there every morning hoping for the best.  Nikon D800, AF-S VR Micro-Nikkor 105mm f/2.8G IF-ED.
While full bloom remains days aways for the Cherry Blossoms around the Tidal Basin in DC, photographers can be found there every morning hoping for the best. Nikon D800, AF-S VR Micro-Nikkor 105mm f/2.8G IF-ED.

No luck yet.  Today was supposed to be smack in the middle of the peak blooming period for the Washington, DC cherry blossoms around the Tidal basin.  Unfortunately, this tree depicted here was one of the very few that had gotten the word that it is time to bloom.  No doubt the 32 degree morning temperatures have something to do with this.  Mother nature is simply playing havoc with tourist and photographers alike, as they have had to settle with watching the flower buds cuddle tightly on the long Japanese branches.  But, there’s always tomorrow.  And I have no doubt that the third official “peak bloom” prediction by the National Park Service will be a charm.  After all, are we not supposed to be having some spring weather by now?  Well, as they say in the great, power corridors in Washington, “someone didn’t get the memo.”  But photographers are a patient lot, so we’ll be back there again.