March 29, 2006 at 8:29 AM
One of the joys of spring in the Washington DC area is the sight of the cherry blossoms massed in spectacular display around the Tidal Basin, near the Jefferson Memorial in downtown Washington. The trees, a gift from the government of Japan, were planted there in 1912. The blossoms are a very delicate pink, and the blossoms themselves are delicate, too. A strong wind or rain knocks them down to the ground, and sometimes they are only on the trees for a week. The time of bloom is very variable, and they sometimes appear with little advance notice after a few days of warm, sunny weather. The Cherry Blossom Festival is planned months in advance and sometimes occurs several weeks before or after the blossoms show up. Japanese cherry trees are found in public gardens and private residences around the DC metropolitan area. I am fortunate to have one just outside my living room window.
Loveliest of Trees
Loveliest of trees, the cherry now
Is hung with bloom along the bough,
And stands about the woodland ride
Wearing white for Eastertide.
Now, of my threescore years and ten,
Twenty will not come again,
And take from seventy springs a score,
It only leaves me fifty more.
And since to look at things in bloom
Fifty springs are little room,
About the woodlands I will go
To see the cherry hung with snow.
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