Sunday, March 25, 2012

Old Cherries

In 1912 Japan gave a group of cherry trees to Washington, DC. Planted near the Tidal Basin, they bloom every spring. Over the years, more and more trees were planted, even though Washington DC's climate is not ideal for Japanese cherries. The National Park Service carefully tends the trees through the hot, humid summers. The cherries suffer the indignities cast upon them by hordes of tourists who trample the roots and try to climb on branches to pose for photos. This week, in the original grove, the remaining centenarian trees unfurled clouds of pale blossoms. It was a fine show of vigorous new growth sheltering trunks that are gnarled and bent like so many elderly survivors at a party. A gift indeed.