Every year there’s a warm snap late in February here in DC. All the moms are on the playground, the kids who aren’t ordinarily wearing shorts year round are wearing shorts and an airy buzz about the cusp of spring is jumping off everyone’s tongue.
I raise my face to the warm sun, take it in for a moment and shake my head. I very much want to but I’m not buying it.
If past springs are any measure, its going to snow at least once in March and perhaps in April too. We’re going to put away all the winter clothing because we just can’t stand SCARVES anymore only to layer tons of summer clothing for two months because its still cold out and we can’t admit it. We walk outside, feel sun, toss the jacket back into the hallway and shut the door only to shiver 10 minutes later when the wind blows.
Warming up takes awhile.
There’s a promise that comes around the DC area every year and it manifests over two weeks. Originating from Japan, the cherry blossoms that are planted not only along the Tidal Basin but in so many local neighborhoods thrive in this erratic combination of cold and warm and provide assurance that spring weather will arrive if we can just hold on.
We go nuts over our blossoms here. Yes, people come from all over the country to see them and, yes, they are beautiful. But as residents we ourselves are obsessed. We organize parties and marathons and photo shoots and days off just to be around them in their pale pink-white glory. And they have the most subtle scent that you won’t realize unless they are in absolute abundance. Towards the end of their stay they rain petals like spring snow whenever the wind blows, speckling the streets and carpeting the curbs.
This first of a few cherry blossom shoots was difficult because the buds were only partially out and because the temperatures were still hovering in the 40’s and 50’s. Its hard to look happy and springy when hot chocolate is more tempting than lemonade. Warming up takes time.
Despite the chill we got some sweet sibling moments and some true smiles. At some point I looked over my shoulder to see that E had climbed quite comfortably into a tree completely by herself, something we’re not supposed to do in order to protect these aging treasures. But her action was so innocent. I thought immediately of The Giving Tree, how its trunk and branches probably missed the love of small children. It seemed to just cradle her there so comfortably.
It was the beginning of a promise that hasn’t yet been granted but hang tight. Spring always shows up.