This month, my travels will be taking me to Washington, D.C. for some research at the Library of Congress and to Seattle, Washington for a business meeting. From one Washington to the other, this gives me an opportunity to celebrate spring by viewing the Cherry blossoms on both coasts. What a gift! With the current forecast, I hope to catch the last fading blooms in D.C. around the tidal basin. But I will be in Seattle for the Cherry Blossom Festival itself and it is there that I plan to celebrate by eating a picnic under the blossoms before catching my plane home again.
The cherry blossoms have a deep significance and meaning. They put on a spectacular show when they bloom but it is only brief a display. This is a reminder of the beauty and brevity of life, the need to appreciate every moment.
The blossoms in D.C. have always touched me. So many of the trees were gifts of friendship from the Japanese people. These gifts were given both before and after World War II. How beautiful that they bloomed throughout our war, those brief displays of blossoms reminding us to treasure our moments of serenity and friendship.
In Seattle, many of the cherries were gifts and tributes to the deep friendships and cultural ties weaving together the nations of the pacific rim. Whenever I see a cherry blossom, I think about how precious friendships are, how brief life is, and how blessed I am to have them.
For more information on the meaning behind the sakura and how the cherry blossoms are celebrated around the world, read The Cherry Blossom Festival: Sakura Celebration by Ann McClellan.