There are few things as gorgeous as cherry trees blooming.
It's a gross platitude, but I don't mind indulging: in all their varietals (not just the iconic Yoshino Sakuras that have become a symbol of DC in the spring), cherry trees are majestic and simple; delicate and strong; feminine and masculine in one.
(And yeah– I totally went there and pretty much hinted that men are stronger than women. Smite me now.)
The aroma of flowering cherries in bloom is like an illusion: you know it's there but can't really capture it or describe it. It's not like, say, the trickery and weirdness of the sweet violet's ionones that numb your nose so you can't smell the same violet twice (or at least not for an hour or so).
The irony of this beautiful process is many-fold to my deranged mind:
- Every year, the trees will bloom and we will all be amazed. They usually bloom between the end of March and the beginning of April, but we always seek to pin down the exact date, so we can make grandiose plans about which we'll grumble because we get to share "our" moment with 10,000 others.
- The obsession causes many not to notice the earlier-flowering varieties (as in, not like the Yoshino we got from the Japanese), which are usually just as gorgeous lining boulevards and gracing backyards. It also causes them not to recognize the later-flowering double cherries as, well, cherries.
- Craploads of teenagers are forced to confront what winning at adolescence is like– spring being the tender and messy adolescence of many flowering plants. These young'uns –many sporting massively bored-looking pizza faces– get to walk around looking surly and aimless in the streets of DC, wondering why anyone would care about trees.
- Kits for growing cherry blossom trees can be obtained from the Smithsonian Institution gift shops for around $10. They are marketed toward children. Newsflash: most kids would not have an easy time growing their own cherry tree because the first direction involves BOILING WATER.
- We are all in love with tree genitals. This is perhaps the most glorious bit of irony: while we as a nation are transfixed in horror that Janet Jackson's nipple and tacky nipple shield would be visible for 3 seconds on national television during half-time/potty break, we track obsessively flower vaginas and flower penises for the entire month of March and half of April.
- And then there is tree jizz of all kinds in the air, and you're sneezing it out if you're allergic, but that's a topic that may have been covered (har, har, "covered") before.
So there you are. Enjoy the blossoms, avoid the tourists, and cherish the little forgotten trees doing their thing on the streets. And please, when you see teenagers, point and laugh: it's the polite thing to do.