Summer dropped into town for a quick visit this past weekend.
Weather mood swings are part of the landscape around here, but this particular bounce coincided with the peak bloom of the cherry blossoms surrounding the Tidal Basin, and the parade to celebrate same.
These events draw mobs of tourists even during years when the weather’s cold and dreary and the blossoms either refuse to cooperate or open early and vanish before the first eager visitors step off the metro. It can be a frustrating experience to travel hundreds of miles only to find the star attraction down for the count.
But this year the blossoms stayed under wraps longer than usual, due to our Winter Without End. And as a result, when the temperatures climbed into the 80s on Saturday, a perfect explosion of blooms drew a perfect explosion of visitors. Local media went wild posting pictures of the spectacle, and the spectacle of people admiring the spectacle. It was a real love-fest. Sort of like Woodstock but without the music and the mud. Record crowds rode bikes, pushed strollers and took the metro to join the throngs shuffling around the narrow walkway beneath the famous trees. Yay! Right?
However, you just can’t please some people.
Today The Washington Post ran a story about the trash all these visitors left behind. The much larger than usual crowd naturally left in its wake a much larger than usual amount of empty water bottles, food containers, etc., so much that the usually hyper efficient National Parks maintenance crew was unable to stay ahead of it. They had difficulty even getting access to the trash cans because of all the people. And, it must be said, the trash was neatly piled. There was simply too much, too fast, to be removed quickly.
It’s unfortunate that some visitors may focus on this minor glitch in what was otherwise one of the most spectacular cherry blossom displays of recent years.
It’s human nature to get overexcited when things get off to a great start. The sun shines, the blossoms open, the mood is Aquarian and full of goodwill to all. And then, oh well. Into each life some trash must pile.
Baseball fans get this. The Nationals, who were off to a glorious 7-2 start before the weekend, had their noses rubbed in the dirt in Atlanta in three wish-we-could forget-them games. And to add injury to insult, Ryan Zimmerman got his thumb broken in the middle of it. There was no comedy to the errors either.
But, unlike the Cherry Blossom Festival, which lasts only a few weeks, the baseball season lasts six months. At least. There’s plenty of time for the Boys in Red to regroup, take out the trash, and play some great ball.
The sound I’ll be listening for is that telltale kaboom, when you know it’s leaving the park. That’s the sound of summer, when it’s here to stay.