Al­most blos­som time

Maryland Independent - - Classified - Twitter: @right­meg

It’s (al­most) cherry blos­som time!

Look, I know win­ter lovers are likely gri­mac­ing at the early ap­pear­ance of daf­fodils and mourn­ing the lack of crisp air — a year with­out a win­ter, re­ally. But me? I’m danc­ing around in my flip-flops, and not only be­cause my nine-months-preg­nant feet can no longer squeeze com­fort­ably into ac- tual shoes. Even with a few whis­pers of snow still in the fore­cast, it’s spring!

Since child­hood, I’ve con­sid­ered fall — with its pies and pump­kin spice lat­tes, bril­liant leaves and bon­fires — to be my fa­vorite sea­son. It’s a cozy time, one ripe with great fam­ily me­mories cen­tered around my par­ents’ and grand­par­ents’ ta­bles. If you’ve hung around with me for a while, you’re prob­a­bly won­der­ing how I could pos­si­bly turn my back on a sea­son I dis­cuss with near-re­li­gious fer­vor. Au­tumn! Sweet, golden au­tumn!

And, you know, I still love fall. I will al­ways love fall. But if I’m be­ing hon­est, the pas­tel col­ors, warm breezes and flow­er­ing trees of spring just hold more ap­peal these days. And not just be­cause Peeps (and Peep-fla- vored Oreos, I’ll have you know) are abun­dant in ev­ery store. I love noth­ing more than shed­ding a coat and gorg­ing my­self on can­dies shaped like robin eggs. Spring is an ac­tual breath of fresh air af­ter win­ter’s long dark­ness.

It all changed — like so much else — when I be­came a par­ent. My son was born in April, on the first bril­liant day of spring that year. And soon my daugh­ter will be wel­comed in this sea­son, too. It’s a time of growth and re­newal, of shed­ding old things to make way for what is good and clean and new.

The cherry blos­soms are cer­tainly part of that. My mom and I have made many pil­grim­ages to see the famed trees along the Ti­dal Basin in Wash­ing­ton, D.C., join­ing thou­sands of oth­ers to take pho­tos and stroll among the blooms in the sun­shine. It’s crowded and slightly claus­tro­pho­bia-in­duc­ing, yes, but def­i­nitely worth the ex­peri- ence. And worth ex­pe­ri­enc­ing again and again and again.

Why do folks get so worked about some trees? Well, they’re pretty. And fleet­ing. All the bet- ter to ap­pre­ci­ate them while they’re present — a nar­row win­dow that can open for only a few days.

Af­ter a long streak of mak­ing it down­town each bloom­ing sea­son, our day trips dur­ing peak bloom have been more scat­tered in re­cent years. Lack of va­ca­tion time, bad tim­ing mid-week — the ex­cuses, you know: they pile up quickly. But I know how for­tu­nate we are to live so close to such beauty. My mother-in-law would love to see the blooms on one of her vis­its from New York, and we keep try­ing to work out the tim­ing. We thought we were go­ing to make in 2015 . . . but alas, Oliver came early.

My par­ents and I did go last year: very early on a Satur­day morn­ing, be­cause that was when we could make it work. While few of the trees were in bloom, I en­joyed spend­ing time with Mom and Dad on a day I was free to wan­der while Spencer hung back with Ol­lie.

Wan­der­ing is good for the soul.

How of­ten do any of us head out for an aim­less drive, a ca­sual stroll? I’m guiltier than any­one of rarely mak­ing time to sim­ply be, and it’s my life’s am­bi­tion to get my­self to­gether enough to live in the present with­out a stream of to-dos con­stantly run­ning through my mind.

That com­pul­sion — to make lists; to sched­ule ev­ery­thing to the minute; to never veer off course — seemed to ini­tially worsen when I be­came a mom. But iron­i­cally, as time goes on, I find my­self more and more will­ing to do things spon­ta­neously. It’s eas­ier that way. As life with chil­dren can be un­pre­dictable, I’ve found it best to avoid set­ting any­thing in stone. Now I as­pire to keep life loose, you know? As much as it can be, any­way. I don’t know if we’ll make it to see the cherry blos­soms this year. With the Na­tional Park Ser­vice pre­dict­ing peak bloom (when at least 70 per­cent of the cherry blos­soms are open) to be­gin Tues­day, I doubt I’ll have the op­por­tu­nity or en­ergy to wad­dle my­self down to the Ti­dal Basin. The per­ils of an­other spring baby.

So I’ll par­tic­i­pate on­line, prowl­ing the in­ter­net and liv­ing vi­car­i­ously through Facebook posts and Twitter hash­tags. I’ll re­mem­ber the af­ter­noons Mom and I once wan­dered while en­joy­ing the warmth of a new sea­son.

I’ll get back there . . . some­day. Likely with a dou­ble stroller.

Then our tra­di­tions can be­gin anew.

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