Katherine in Kyoto
Cherry Blossom Equinox Newsletter
March 21, 2019
Cherry Blossom Time!
In 1912, the Japanese government gave 3000 cherry trees to our nation’s capital, which were planted around the Tidal Basin on the National Mall in Washington DC.
These now-legendary cherry blossoms of Washington are visited each Spring by more than one million people from around the world. And the trees are always at the height of their bloom for my birthday!
Cherry Blossoms of The Eight
Thirty years ago in San Francisco–when I was writing my book, The Eight, and opened it in the Pyrenees with that scene of (imaginary) nuns in the (invented) cherry orchards at the (fictional) Montglane Abbey –I didn’t visualize that one day I’d be writing a book while living here in DC, among these magnificent hundred-year-old cherry trees:
“They called that spring ‘le Printemps Sanglant,’ the Bloody Spring. The cherry trees had bloomed early that year, long before the snows had melted from the high mountain peaks. Their fragile branches bent down to earth with the weight of the wet red blossoms.” -Page 1 of The Eight
Cherry Blossoms in The Fire (Sequel to The Eight)
Alexandra Solarin (daughter of Cat and Solarin) returns home from Colorado to Washington DC at the height of the National Cherry Blossom Festival. Driving up to her boss Rodolpho’s estate at Kenwood, just above the DC line, en route she passes hundreds of Japanese tourists with dark umbrellas, moving among Kenwood’s fabled ancient, black-branched cherry trees, snapping photos of cherry blossoms in the rain:
“…when I rolled down the window…mist swirled into the car like damp smoke. It was permeated with a heady aroma of cherry blossoms…through the fog I could see acres of Rodo’s beloved ‘Xapata,’ the Basque trees that yield abundant cherries for St John’s Day each June.” -Page 163 of The Fire
Cherry Blossoms at my Japanese House
My ornamental cherry tree, planted at the Japanese house in 1965 by Teruo Hara, is now nearly sixty years old–and is more than 60 feet high! It always reminds me of my favorite inspirational “Quest” poem by Robert Louis Stevenson, in my great-grandmother’s 1905 first edition of Robert Louis Stevenson & Jessie Wilcox Smith’s A Child’s Garden of Verses.
Have a cheery Cherry Festival!