Sunday, March 25, 2012

It's Snowing Cherry Blossoms

For many years I have wanted to visit the National Cherry Blossom Festival in Washington DC. In college I would always miss the peak of the festival due to spring break, exams, or other commitments. Shortly after graduation I moved to NJ, and I thought I would be able to make a trip to the nation's capital with ease. But the years ticked by and during each peak bloom I found myself somewhere other than DC.

With the warm spring, the end of the world looming in 2012, and the 100th anniversary of the cherry blossoms, I was convinced this would be my chance to go. Three weeks ago I told JLo to keep the 24th of March open - based on peak bloom averages and warm weather, I calculated this would be a good date to plan for.

So I began stalking the cherry blossom webcam and the national website. With the increasing temperatures, the peak bloom got pushed earlier, and earlier, and earlier, until finally, it would begin on the 20th of March and would last a mere four days until the 24th. This is the shortest bloom in many years.

But no matter - I decided not to let this deter me. I was going to visit anyway, even if I arrived eight hours after the peak bloom. However my bad luck would only increase: after two weeks of sunny, 75 degree days, Saturday would bring the rain and the cold. And there is no rest for the wicked; the work week does not adjust for life. There was no way JLo and I could escape work on a weekday. So I sighed and figured 2012 would go by another year without cherry blossoms.

430am on Saturday, March 24th, I woke up for no reason at all. I flipped on my laptop and checked the hourly forecast. In DC, the rain had been pushed back to 10am.

I shook Jonaid awake. By 530am we were on the road; we passed Philly before sunrise; we were in Baltimore just in time to drive through the heart of a thunderstorm; but still we went on. By 8am we were at the cherry blossoms, and what luck, the thunderstorms hadn't struck in DC.

At 8am there were some tourists and a lot of joggers. For the first hour of our walk around the Tidal Basin we weren't crowded and people were polite. We visited the Washington Monument, many memorials, had a bagel at the National Mall (which, JLo actually thought was a shopping center... to be fair, it has been years since I've been in DC and even longer for JLo). We did our four-and-a-half mile walk and finished just as the rain was starting around 1130. We left the Tidal Basin and noshed at We, The Pizza during a downpour, followed by a tour of the National Botanic Garden as the sun came out and skyrocketed the humidity. Exhausted, we made the journey back home and promptly passed out. At 5pm. On a Saturday. It was wonderful.

I love DC! There are so many places I want to live in this world. It is unfortunate you cannot pick all of them.






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