One of my favorite times in Washington, D.C., is when the cherry blossoms reach out to say hello to all of us. Another is when these delicate petals fall, leaving a textured pink layer over grass and pavement.
D.C. residents knew the blossoms were preparing to take their leave. The downed magnolia petals gave us warning, as did emerging redbud, and the green leaves that began to eclipse the presence of pink on the cherry trees.
Despite the steady rainfall, I departed for work by bike, hoping for quiet streets and a glimpse of the petals’ farewell to the city.
The rain cleared the roads of tourists and left only the most dedicated of bike commuters to contemplate the quiet, warm, damp of the morning.
I steadily pedaled toward the Tidal Basin and Ohio Drive, seeking out a special spot. I didn’t know where it was, only that I would know it when I came upon it.
I passed over petals, puddles and pavement until my bike steered me toward a tree peppered in tiny pink ovals. My special spot.
Propping my bike against the tree’s solid base, I soaked in the morning. Yes, like that.
As I was taking photos, my friend Chris rode by. I said hello, thinking he would simply continue on his way, given the rainy morning.
To my surprise, Chris turned around. We exchanged photos, chatted a little, and contemplated the morning rain by the Potomac River.
I took a few more photos, Chris pushed off, and I hopped on my bike to bid Ohio Drive goodbye. Suddenly the wind rushed, clouds fused, angry waves licked the shore of the Potomac, and the previously steady rain morphed into a pounding downpour.
My feet squished in my socks and shoes, and I wondered what the hell I’d been doing, pausing my commute to grasp that moment. I imagined Chris crossing the 14th Street Bridge. What were we thinking?
But the stormy beauty of the day brought an unrepentant smile to my face. Morning’s warmth and a peaceful moment with a friend and fellow bike commuter. My immediate view of the storm’s intense rising over the river, the swaying of trees, and the flurry of pink petals intersecting my path.
The intense pre-work soaking was well worth it. Farewell, dear blossoms.