Wednesday, April 18, 2012

DC Cherry Blossoms Festival 100 Year Anniversary

One of my favorite parts of living in a D.C. suburb is when April comes around and it's time for the annual Cherry Blossom Festival. This year it was a particularly big deal as it marked the 100th year of the festival.  It was also a big deal because I wasn't sure I was going to be able to go, and I haven't missed a Cherry Blossom Festival in years; my husband and I make it our business to go every year together.  My new job at an accounting firm requires me to work on Saturdays during tax season and his new job requires him to work on Sundays, so our chances were looking bleak... but fate intervened and I ended up having a surprise Saturday off (Yay people unexpectedly filing for extensions and lightening my weekend workload!).

Sadly we missed the peak cherry blossom weekend and most of the blossoms had blown away, but there is always a tree in bloom somewhere - and plenty of people congregating around the one and only tree blooming next to the tidal basin.

If you walked a little further away from the tidal basin it was possible to find more trees, although the FDR Memorial (which can usually be relied on to have blossoms long after the wind has swept the tidal basin clean) was also sadly sparse.  Still, we managed to find a small grove and snap some pictures.

It was also a perfect day for kite-flying, which was fortunate for the Kite Festival that was going on that day next to the Washington Monument.

This year, with the actual blossoms being so sparse, I ended up people watching more than anything, and what I saw made me really happy. Sometimes, reading and watching the news, especially in the aftermath of Treyvan Martin and with all of the political in-fighting going on and Rick Santorum calling Obama a "Nigg-" before he caught himself, it's easy to think about how awful people can be and how different we all are and how can we possibly get along as one country?  Then I sat and people watched at the Cherry Blossoms Festival and I came away feeling a whole let better about the state of things.

There were so many different kinds of people, speaking different languages, wearing different styles, coming from different cultures, socio-economic backgrounds and walks of life, and yet we were all drawn together to see a thing of beauty.  It wasn't just people from the D.C. city and suburbs, citizens from all over the nation travel to the festival every year, and this year in particular. We were all there, together, and everyone was more than just respectful of their fellow-festival goers, they were helpful. Everywhere you could see people pausing in their walks so that they didn't interrupt a stranger's picture, or even accepting a request to take a picture of a stranger. Skin color didn't matter, no one asked if you were gay or straight, no one cared if you spoke perfect English or no English at all. Everyone was there together enjoying the beauty of the day, and it really hit me how absolutely wonderful that is.

No comments:

Post a Comment