Monday, April 4, 2016
...just a bit too late.
I know, I know. With my Russian exam scheduled in less than three weeks' time, I should be devoting all my waking moments in preparation. But with spring finally here, and the girls back from Taiwan, and baseball season upon us, and March Madness almost over, as well as any number of other excuses, motivation to concentrate of cases and understanding news articles written in Cyrillic is somewhat lacking. Besides, it's still cherry blossom season...
...or so we thought. Three weekends ago, my wife, daughter and I had ventured down to the Tidal Basin in Washington, D.C. to look at blooming flowers, only to find out that we were too early. Two weekends ago, Amber and Pamela left for Taiwan to visit family and attend a wedding. While there, they had planned on going on a bus tour to Alishan 阿里山 in order to see the sakura 桜, but unfortunately for them, constant rain turned that idea into a washout (whereas I, on the other hand...) Now back Stateside, my wife was determined to see some cherry blossoms before it was too late, and this weekend was her last chance. And so on Saturday we rode the Metro to Foggy Bottom, then walked past the Lincoln Memorial and the reflecting pool, pausing only briefly at the District of Columbia War Memorial:
Upon reaching the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial, it was quickly apparent that the blossoms had passed their peak bloom. Instead of an explosion of pinks and whites, the trees surrounding the Tidal Basin were giving off an aura of muted greens and off-whites. Still, there were a few cherry trees that hadn't packed things up yet, so digital cameras and cell phones were put into action:
Irrespective of what the flowers are doing, the National Cherry Blossom Festival is scheduled to run until April 17th. On Saturday the main event was a kite festival, held by the Washington Monument. The windy conditions yesterday may not have been too kind to cherry blossoms, but were gladly welcomed by the hundreds of kite-flyers who turned out to launch their tethered heavier-than-air crafts upwards:
Blame it on the cherry blossoms for attracting the visitors, but our plan to visit the National Archives Building in the afternoon was foiled by the long line people outside waiting patiently to go indoors. We'll just have to see the Declaration of Independence, Constitution, Bill of Rights and Magna Carta on another occasion:
We'll always have the National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden:
Joan Miró, Personnage Gothique, Oiseau-Eclair (1974/1977)
Robert Indiana, AMOR (2006)
Barry Flanagan, Thinker on a Rock (1997)
Depending on how well I do on my upcoming Russian exam, we will either be packing up and leaving for Lithuania by the end of this month, or sticking around in Falls Church until the middle of June. Whatever happens, I hope what few Russian comprehension skills I've developed so far will not be as fleeting as the short but brilliant lifespan of the flowering cherry blossom.