It’s that wonderful time of the year; spring has arrived! As cliché as it may sound, I am starting to feel fresh as a daisy. The birds are chirping, animals (and people) are no longer hibernating and the sun has melted the last remains of snow. Along with all of this comes the beautiful blossoming of flowers, specifically, cherry blossoms! Until recently, I had taken them for granted for many years. Growing up, we had a tree in my front yard that would blossom every spring with the most incredible cherry blossoms. I could see the tree through my bedroom window and still remember its’ beauty; it was a reminder that winter was officially over and summer was just around the corner. When the cherry blossoms were at their peak bloom, my brother and I were officially set to play outside sans winter coats and we all knew, spring had arrived.
The cherry blossoms didn’t originate in America but were a gift from Japan back in 1912 as a reminder of the ongoing friendship between the United States and Japan. As the wise Kerry Washington once said in the ever so popular show, Scandal, “This is D.C., all people talk about are politics and cherry blossoms”. Each year, the Cherry Blossom Festival in D.C. commemorates the 1912 gift of 3,000 cherry trees from Mayor Yukio Ozaki of Tokyo. The celebration honors the lasting relationship between the United States and Japan.
The cherry blossom also symbolizes birth and renewal as well as the beauty and fragility of life, as it’s a reminder that life is beautiful but also short. Once the cherry blossoms reach peak bloom, they only last for about 14 days; overwhelming beauty that is short-lived. I had every intention of attending the opening ceremony of The National Cherry Blossom Festival; unfortunately, the erratic weather delayed the blooming process. When Washington’s cherry blossoms would hit peak bloom is a complete guessing game, more so this year than ever. February was unusually warm this year, which led us to believe there was going to be a record-early bloom. Then March came along which was a complete game-changer…a snowstorm and deep freeze hit the east coast diminishing the entire crop of trees and setting back the predicted bloom date by weeks. It’s always been on my bucket list to attend the festival and see the blossoms in their full glory as they surround the Tidal Basin. I guess there’s always next year but in the meantime, I will make my way through NYC looking for the beautiful blossoms!
Although you wouldn’t expect to see cherry blossoms in NYC, they can be spotted throughout various parts of the city. There is something so beautiful about seeing these magical flowers in the middle of the concrete jungle. You can typically see them from the beginning to middle of April on the West side of Central Park (near the reservoir), Cherry Hill at 72nd street and just west of the MET along 83rd and 84th streets. They can also be seen on the east side of the Loeb Boathouse at 74th street, Riverside Park, the New York Botanical Garden and of course, Roosevelt Island. The best part of NYC is the fact that you can be wandering the streets of the West Village or Lower East Side and might just run into a single cherry blossom tree in the most unexpected area. You never know what you may find while roaming the city.
It’s amazing how Mother Nature not only sets the tone and dictates the start of each season but she also plays a major role when it comes to fashion trends. The fashion industry has an incredible ability to take inspiration from the transient beauty of nature.
During this particular time of the year, clothing and accessories are heavily inspired by flowering trees, which have become synonymous with springtime. This spring, it’s all about pastels and floral prints! With that being said, the cherry blossom was a huge inspiration for many fashion designers; think Dior Spring/Summer Haute Couture, cherry blossom-inspired jackets, dresses and blouses are very on trend. So next time you pass a shop window with a fabulous floral display or look out your office window and see the blooming trees, think back to the original gift from Japan; the cherry blossom trees. It is a true gift of friendship and a reminder that life is short so make sure to live every moment to the fullest.