Springtime Blossoms

By James F. Finn

After a long, cold winter, spring time is a peaceful, yet brief transition before the start of soupy summer for Washington, DC. The National Cherry Blossom Festival is a de facto kickoff to spring and attracts millions of visitors from around the country and world.

Constitution Avenue is lined with visitors. Children cheer as they see the colorful floats and balloons pass by. Adults are preserving their visit by taking photos and video. College students are enjoying the last months of their time in DC before graduation (or summer break). A Japanese culture festival is taking place nearby on Pennsylvania Avenue. Samurai duals and kimonos are visible. The smell of grilled teriyaki chicken lines the air.

The cherry blossoms — the main spectacle of this show — begin at the base of the Washington Monument and line the tidal basin of the Jefferson Memorial with pink and white petals alongside the light green buds of other trees in the area.

Aside from being a fantastic spectacle, the festival holds great political and cultural value. The tradition began in 1912 with the gift of 3,000 trees from the mayor of Tokyo to commemorate the friendship of Japan and the United States. Every First Lady of the United States from Helen Herron Taft to Michelle Obama has been a festival proponent and participant in commemorating this 103 year old tradition.

As I framed up the petals in the viewfinder of my camera, I was reminded that the cherry blossoms at their peak are a visible signifier of new and exciting experiences to come. After a year of job searching in 2014, I left Connecticut for Virginia to start a new job. I spent most of the winter working, traveling and acclimating to my new role. With spring I see a blossoming future and new experiences to be discovered.

Expect more “Finndings” from DC and beyond.

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