My first memory of the Cherry Blossom Festival in Washington DC was at age 6. Mom and Dad packed up the Oldsmobile, my brother and I for a weekend road trip down to Washington DC. It was then my lifelong love and obsession for the blossoms began. Ever since, each and every year my appreciation grows stronger. Mid March I start checking projected peak dates on www.nationalcherryblossomfestival.org/ to plan out our annual pilgrimage to witness the trees ephemeral beauty. Perhaps it is because of their fleeting beauty my appreciation has become more precious.
In this post I will take you on a mental journey to DC, then to ponder my poetry about an elderly couple reminiscing on their 50th anniversary of the date they met during the cherry blossom festival of 1963. Then back again to our row home for a blossom ballet and I'll leave you with a gift of beauty.
2014 is the 102nd anniversary of the city of Tokyo, Japan's gift. Tokyo gave DC and the US citizens as a gesture of friendship 3,020 Cherry Blossom trees. First Lady Taft and the Viscountess Chinda the wife of the Japanese Ambassador planted the first two trees in 1912 on the northern bank of the Tidal Basin. Still standing today - near the John Paul Jones statue. There are over 3,700 Yoshino cherry blossoms just along the Tidal Basin. The flowers range from white to pink and peak season is considered at 70% bloom.
Last year with friends after a delightful Saturday meal we drove into the Tidal Basin. It was during the festival - but because of Mother Nature's cold days not yet peak, it would take another 30 hours before the blossoms opened up beautifully. But to John and I being with close friends walking around the monuments and taking in the fireworks display over the Potomac river it was an enchanting memorable evening even with the blossoms only at 60%.
No doubt about it, John and I are Francophiles and we try our best to annually go down to DC and spend the weekend with dear car friends in our vintage DS. We own a 1972 Citroën DS Pallas that we painstakingly restored and it has now become familiar with DC and Bethesda MD. This photo was taken by John under peak blossoms in Bethesda MD on a Sunday drive through the Kenwood section with friends. Our tour guide is mon amie Judy. Our car is painted a nuanced original Citroën color that throughout the day and night changes. Daylight it appears Taupe and come evening it is it's true color of Grey. The DS when designed was referred to as "the Goddess" both John and I agree the dubbed name fits his personality. We named the DS Jean Claude. We purchased it 20 years ago from a retired secret service intelligence agent serving under the Reagan presidency who lived just outside DC in Chevy Chase, Maryland.
Kenwood section of Maryland has very mature (some of the oldest cherry blossom trees). The entire area has gorgeous houses and beckons us with a long Sunday Drive with amazing photo opportunities.
This is a 2CV that's owned by our tour guide Judy. Her chosen profession is a nurse but her knowledge of all things French (she lived in Provence for many years) and love of gardening delights us all. She annually takes us through a tour of the best blossoms in Bethesda. In case you are wondering the Deux Chevaux ( means two horsepower, as in the French tax code) most affectionally called the 2CV. Introduced in 1948 at the Paris auto show.
Madam Judy also owns this adorable Citroën Truckette. A derivative of the 2CV. During our Sunday drive we always become part of a question and answering visitation of other peoples blossoms tour. It is a hardworking hauler and under 150 are in our country today. Trust me you don't own a Citroën without sparking curiosity and a whole lot of questions!
This painted signage appears on Judy's side of her adorable Truckette. Brought over from France and now lives in Silver Spring, Maryland.
Below is my poetry ...
April of '63
It was 50 years ago, on this very date we met and instantly fell in love in this enchanting place.
So today we celebrate our anniversary with cherished memories that time can not erase.
Right here, right on this very bench in West Potomac Park, in the season of Spring,
when our eyes first met, I thought perhaps only a fling our acquaintance might bring.
The nations capital on that day was visually a blurred ephemeral canopy of pink.
Blossoms rained down as you sat next to me and smiled and gave a flirtatious wink.
Whimsically in a sea of people from all over the world, it seemed like only you and me.
Leisurely sharing stories and passion right under this romantic pink cherry blossom tree.
Just a chance meeting ... serendipity during the Cherry Blossom Festival in April of 1963
and surprisingly we became passionate lovers on that day, here in Washington, DC.
Our hearts intrinsically united together, right under this old magnificent tree.
When you are young and free spirited it's easier, you'd probably agree.
Without any expectations of tomorrow, a true love one quickly discovers.
Funny that day in '63 who knew we would become lifelong lovers.
Today it's our anniversary and we are enjoying our stroll down memory lane,
commemorating 50 years of living together, deeply in love we joyfully proclaim.
You might remember my very first blog post, Holiday Wintertime Ballet. Every season I stage a production with Violet, a mouse who inhabited a centuries old abandoned French Opera/Ballet theater of decay. The theater was created by mon amie and very talented artist Doré Callaway of Burlap Luxe. The theatre sits on our credenza in the dining room.
Our Spring Cherry Blossom ballet finds sweet Violet frazzled and emotionally drained a few days before opening night. So much to design and create for the set design, so little time. With Violet's love of the blossom trees she wants everything pink and beautiful.
Suddenly a Bunny appears on the stage. As Violet lets out a eww! Violet has never been up close and personal with a bunny before. Plus a bunny in a tutu!!! She turns her back in protest and jealously. Thump, thump, thump what is that annoying sound, as Violet spins around.
Bunny who seems nervous announces herself. My name is Cherise which is French for cherry and I'd like to dance in the blossom ballet. Showing Violet her dance by frolicking with sideways kicks and mid-air leaps. Out sweet Violet was impressed. When Cherise name-dropped Violet's favorite tutu and ballet slipper designer's name all attention was on the bunny. Awwwwww ... you know Penny White? She only creates for the best ballerina's! She is all I wear. Then when Cherise volunteered her artistic talent to craft cherry blossom trees for the stage Violet was thrilled.
Violet and Cherise shared stories as they worked into the wee hours of the night.
Laughing and decorating while having such fun, Violet had finally met her BFF.
Violet climbed the ladder to string the cherry blossom garland as Cherise worked on the trees.
Opening night their performance was flawless. The audience was jubilant ...
As Violet and Cherise were each given a white rose bouquet with pink edges. BRAVO, BRAVO the packed audience shouted.
Then a homemade pink three tiered cake was presented to Violet and Cherise to enjoy with cast and crew. It was lovingly baked by Anita Rivera a patron of the arts.
Wonderful Penny White from Angelsdoor blog custom created Cherise for me to join this production. Penny truly creates magic by transforming wool into needle felted spellbinding objects and adorable animals. Violet was also created by Penny.
Photo of the tag that came with Anita's handmade gift of friendship to me. Anita's poetic and beautiful blog is named Castles Crowns and Cottages. Anita, thank you for your friendship and kindness that comes from your playful heart.
A gift of beauty ... A print of a cherry blossom tree watercolor titled "Beauty". Mon amie Kerrie Sanderson from the blog Sea Cottage gifted me with. Recently I purchased a rain painting from her Sea Washed etsy store and this print was included in the box as a gift. John cut the grey matte with a charcoal core and we purchased a Ribba frame from IKEA for it. Stunning print.
The serene and ethereal Rain painting by Kerrie will be seen soon when I post on our upstairs bathroom. A visit to Kerrie's Sea Cottage always embraces me with a peaceful feeling, thank you Kerrie for giving and sharing from your gentle sea maiden heart.
A photo to show where "Beauty" is hung in our Dining room. In the months I have been blogging I have met the most amazing bloggers and I am graced by their friendship and kindness. I ventured into blogging feeling fragile dealing with sudden loss and what I quickly discovered was the warmth, sincerity and kindness of others.
Join me in two weeks when I share another photo essay and poetry.
Photo sources: 1,2 and 8 google images
Photo's 3,4,5,6,7 hubby John
Photo's 9-18 by me, Vera