The National Cherry Blossom Festival’s press conference was this morning. The National Park Service prediction for peak bloom was the big news — it’s expected to be from April 11 to 14! Looking forward to lots of springtime fun, which I’ll share with you on this blog. Think pink!
This year, more than most, I am elated to see that March is upon us. Lion or lamb, it will be an improvement over the frigid February we experienced here in Washington, DC in 2015.
I’m delighted to share that I will be giving a cherry blossom talk at the Caroline County Library Community Services Center in Milford, Virginia on Saturday, March 14th at 4:00 pm. This talk will be open to the public and is one of several the Library System is holding, honoring Japanese culture. Hope to see you there!
My other public talk this year will be in Peterborough, New Hampshire, on April 23rd at 2 pm at RiverMead Retirement Community. Members of the public are invited to attend as well as RiverMead residents.
My other “official” talks this year are private events, but if you want to meet me and chat about all things cherry blossom, I will be signing books by the Tidal Basin for several weekends during the National Cherry Blossom Festival. You can find me at the National Park Store Tent from 1 to 3 pm on Saturday, March 28, and Sunday, March 29 — then again Friday, April 3; Saturday, April 4; Sunday, April 5; Friday, April 10 and lastly Saturday, April 11 — all from 1 to 3 pm.
Just in case you think cherry blossoms are my only interest, here’s an image from my foray to the Smithsonian American Art Museum yesterday. My novel set in 16th century France is shaping up and the legend of Jeanne d’Arc plays a big role in it. Stay tuned!
As you can see, cherry blossoms turn up in my world all year long! The image on the left is from the Delta in-flight magazine I enjoyed on my return from France last month — more on that soon. Then, in today’s Washington Post, I was amazed to see this photo of the distinctive cherry trees that surround the Tidal Basin. The caption notes that their astonishing blooming is still several months away. Can’t wait!
Yes, I do have a life beyond cherry blossoms! My first novel is at the editing stage. It is set in Renaissance France in the court of Francis the First, focused on his last official mistress and the challenges she faced. To inspire me, I read high quality historic novels set in other time periods. I just finished Sue Monk Kidd’s The Invention of Wings, set in early 19th century America and recommended by Sharon Kay Penman among others. I found it transformative and commend it to you.
You might be surprised, but cherry blossoms are a year-round thing for me. For example, one of my nieces sent me this photo of my National Geographic book that she saw in the Newseum gift shop when she visited in July this year. I always find that thrilling.
For me, it’s not just about the books, it’s really about the trees. I love spotting them in gardens and in parks any time of year. Each variety has a lovely, distinctive shape, and I am grateful for the shade they provide in the capital city’s sweltering summers.
Their bark intrigues me too, though that is more of a winter pleasure for me to look for. Speaking of looking, I remember a National Park Service Ranger mentioning that these trees have a primitive form of sight. They can sense what angle the sun is in the sky, which will trigger the production of proteins that lead to their flowering. That’s one reason the trees don’t bloom earlier even when the winter is warm.
I like to think the cherry blossom trees “see” me, that they know I visit them all year round, not only in the spring when their ethereal blossoms draw millions to Washington, D.C.