Cherry Blossom Time
In 1912, the people of Tokyo, Japan gave Washington, DC 3,020 cherry trees, taken
from a grove along the Arakawa River.  In March of that year, first lady Helen Taft
and Viscountess Chinda, wife of the Japanese Ambassador, planted the first two
trees at the end of 17th Street, near Independence Avenue.  Those two trees still
stand and are marked with bronze plaques.  Washington has celebrated the arrival of
Spring with a Cherry Blossom Festival since 1927.  The festivities now last two
weeks and include a parade and almost 300 performances, exhibits and events.  The
Festival begins on March 31 and ends on April 15.  Today, there are 3,750 trees
situated along the Tidal Basin in West Potomac Park, in East Potomac Park and on
the grounds of the Washington Monument.  Thousands of people make the trek to
Washington every year to enjoy the beauty of the cherry blossoms.
Two vintage Washington D.C. postcards feature cherry trees in bloom.
Loveliest of trees, the cherry now is hung with bloom along the bough,
And stands about the woodland ride wearing white for Eastertide.
Of my three score years and ten, thirty will not come again
And take from seventy springs a score, it only leaves me forty more
And since, to look at things in bloom, forty springs are little room,
About the woodlands I will go to see the cherry hung with snow.
-- A. E. Houseman
Oh, give us pleasure in the blossoms today,
And help us not to think as far away
As the uncertain harvest...but keep us here,
All simply in the springing of the year.
-- Robert Frost
Next spring find yourself a blossoming cherry tree: ancient branches,
newborn blooms, gnarly wood, fragile petals; peace settles
into the interdependency of all living things and brings to us
a gift of harmony - an acquiescence, a gratitude, a giving in.
-- Sonny Rainsworth
It's not just people who enjoy the blossoms!
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