Part two of the cherry blossom saga. Easter weekend was my first visit to DC during cherry blossom time. Sunday I explored, along with thousands of others, the beautiful tidal basin ringed with cherry trees showing off their blossoms. Monday was spent at meetings, but Tuesday morning I had a couple of hours before my flight. So I got up before dawn and rode the metro back to the Hill.
It was an entirely different experience.
For one, the sun came up and lit the western edge of the basin with a rosy glow that complimented the pink and white cherry blossoms. And for another, there were far fewer people out there. Most of them were joggers like me, or photographers also like me, though many of them had fancy equipment. I was carrying my trusty point and shoot, the better to get runs in between stops for photos.
The first bit of sun tinged the top of the Jefferson Monument pink, and though it was beautiful I was still two very busy streets away. Still, I got a bit of it as I zoomed in as far as my little camera would go.
As I got closer to the tidal basin the sun was beginning to focus on the cherry trees themselves. Pretty breathtaking.
I could have spent hours just meandering beneath the beautiful trees…
…but I had limited time. So I headed over to the Martin Luther King monument, just around the corner. I took a few shots of him framed in cherry blossoms, but I liked this version best.
No blossoms, but a strong look for a strong man.
Then I checked my watch and realized I had time to visit President Lincoln if I ran. So I did. It was a great run, along the reflecting pool up to the Lincoln Monument. Could I make it up those steps at a run?
Why yes I could. And there was hardly anyone there, so I got a moment alone with the President. He was warmed by the morning sun, glad to see a new day. Me too.
And because I was so close, I jogged over to the Vietnam wall. There were lots of veterans there. I learned later that it was Vietnam Veterans Day, and I had just missed the ceremony.
I didn’t jog past the wall, instead taking my time to walk it, reading a few names from each panel. So many names. So many families. Heartbreaking.
But time was slipping away. So I headed back, moving more quickly, probably my longest run. And it felt uphill at that, though I don’t suppose it was.
A good place to stop and catch my breath was the WWII memorial. I walked through a part of it, paid my respects and kept going.
Heading back over the Washington Monument hill I saw lines of people already forming for the attraction. The sun was fully up. It was time to give the city back to the tourists and be on my way.
I didn’t want to leave.
I had experienced some pretty special moments during my early morning run. Not something I’ll be able to do again soon. Spending a couple days in the Nation’s Capitol turned out to be a gift.
With one last look over my shoulder I jogged toward the metro station and my flight home.
Bye Washington DC. I had a great time. See you soon.