I think I’ve added another tradition to my Seattle calendar—that of enjoying the cherry blossoms on the campus of the University of Washington every spring. A more delightful sight you will never see. For me it symbolizes beginnings. It’s a time of awakening, of starting anew.
This year the blooms were at their height on March 22nd, so a friend and I packed a picnic lunch and seemed to travel back in time to Hogwarts. The campus is stunning any time of year, and its buildings are truly Harry-Potter-magical. But when you throw cherry blossoms into the mix, it’s beyond compare.
According to this article on the King5 website, “The UW cherry blossom trees, which are over 80 years old, were a gift from then-Tokyo Mayor Yukio Ozaki in 1912 to mark a friendship between the United States and Japan. Thirty-four trees were planted in Seattle’s Washington Park Arboretum; later, 31 of the trees were relocated to the UW and are now planted in the Quad.”
I don’t know if I could have been a student at UW. There’s a posted sign on the Quad that instructs you not to climb these trees, but their amazingly twisted and gnarled trunks just beg for your interaction. I’d probably not make it a week before being tossed out. But fortunately, this is also a great place to visit.
Since I’m told they’re worth a thousand words, what follows are some pictures that I took. (Well, except the aerial one. I wish I could take a picture like that!) You’ll notice it was still a cold, wet day. This is, after all, Seattle. So for our picnic, we huddled in an alcove and tried to avoid the cold wind. But would I do it again? In a heartbeat!
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Today is the first day of spring, and I couldn’t be more excited. You have to understand, I haven’t seen spring in 40 years. In Florida we had two seasons: Summer and January. So this is a huge deal for me.
Even the thought of breaking out a different set of clothes has me grinning like an idiot. And I love that things (including me) actually look different from one season to the next here. Maybe you take that for granted, but I gaze upon the blooming flowers where a few weeks ago there were none, and I see it as the natural miracle that it is.
I even ran out and bought a bunch of flowering plants and planted them in the yard of my rental house. And I hate yard work. I’m not sure my landlord will be thrilled that I’m digging holes in the yard, so mum’s the word. (Pardon the pun.)
And I made it through a winter! I had my doubts. (Especially when the heater died in my car.) The ever-shortening days felt ominous and unnatural to me.
But we’ve come out the other side! Joy! Life! Renewal! A visible marker of the passage of time! Is this what spring fever feels like? I’d forgotten. I feel like taking off my clothes and rolling naked amongst the tulips. And that’s a problem, because there’s a tulip festival in my near future…
[Image credit: imgarcade.com]