For years and years it's been a tradition for my family to get up before the sun and drive into the city to see the cherry blossoms at their peak. If you have ever set foot in DC, or any large city for that matter, you can understand why starting your journey before most normal people are awake is so important. The parking lot along a portion of the Tidal Basin (the best place for cherry blossom viewing) holds all of twelve point three vehicles that are all in incredibly high demand. Even by 6:00 on a Saturday morning cars circle the lot like vultures.
Every year as I got older getting up that early to see a bunch of trees, beautiful though they are, got harder and harder. I wanted to go with my family because it was tradition but my teenage body rejected that the hours before daylight existed as a time in which the human body could be something other than horizontal. I would almost always say the night before that this year I probably wouldn't make it, I'd see how I felt in the morning thinking I'd choose to sleep in. Every time I felt pangs of guilt and regret at missing out and I'd wake up, roll into something somewhat presentable and trip my way out to the car.
When we arrived it was always the same: park towards the back end of the lot because there are usually more spaces and it's easier to get out when things start getting crazier as the morning goes on. Go up to the Basin railing, turn left and begin start walking. Pause at the Jefferson Memorial, pause at the pansy garden and in later years adjust the circuit to include the Roosevelt Memorial. By the time we got back to the car the lot was a sticky mess and there were people everywhere. We all smiled as we climbed into the car, thankful for the beautiful sunrise and peaceful walk we shared.
This year I missed the trip around the Basin with my family and I am more disappointed than I realized. In honor of them and the scent of spring on this gray day I'll share some of my favorite blossom pictures.