Issue: March 2014
BYPOINTS: A Cherry on Top

As I write this, in early February, giant flakes of snow are fluttering to the ground outside my window. It’s quite lovely, really, but it makes it difficult to put myself in a spring frame of mind, which is my habit this time of year. Chances are, it won’t be any easier for you to think spring right now, since you’ll be pulling this “March” issue from your mailbox in late February. Clearly, what we need here is something transformative, something transportive, something that makes us hear the birds sing, feel the warm air and the sun on our faces….

All right, I think I heard somebody say, “let’s go to Key West!” That’s good, that’s thinking outside the box, I like it, but it’s not exactly what I had in mind. I was thinking closer to home, something that doesn’t involve airfare and luggage—something along the lines of, say, reading our main destination feature in this issue,“Cherries Jubilee”. It’s senior editor Jody Schroath at her best, recounting her trip up the Potomac River last March, timed to put her in Washington for the National Cherry Blossom Festival. No extra charge, she says, for the little bits of haiku she has sprinkled here and there. (When Jody gets into a subject, she really gets into it.)

Spring being the unpredictable thing it is, Jody spent several days shivering in her slip at Gangplank Marina, wondering if she’d ever see 50 degrees again, to say nothing of the cherry blossoms. But the weather broke at last, the blossoms . . . um, blossomed, and Jody’s 36-foot sailing cat, Moment of Zen, suddenly became a very attractive and convenient place for family and friends and assorted dogs to stay while enjoying the festival. A good time, as the bromide goes, was had by all.

For me the story conjured up a memory of seeing Washington’s cherry-blossom spectacular as a child. The main thing I remember is that I didn’t want to go. We, meaning I and my 30 siblings (I’m rounding up; there were a lot of us), had been given the choice of going to the Great Falls Park, along the Potomac River in Virginia, or to the Tidal Basin in Washington to see the cherry trees. Same river, but vastly different entertainment potential—at least from the sound of it—for a lad of nine or ten. Naturally, I leaned toward Great Falls and its endlessly entertaining gigantic rocks. I mean, come on, cherry trees? You want to go see dumb ol’ blossoms instead of climbing on rocks? You can’t be serious! But they were. I was outvoted. (I still think it was unfair that my parents each had a vote. What did they know about playing?)

But of course the cherry blossoms turned out to be nothing short of breathtaking, even for a short-attention-span, torn-sneaker little cretin like me. To this day, when I see cherry trees in bloom, I think of that beautiful pink afternoon, circa 1960. And now, inspired by Jody, I must go again. I’ve been saying that every spring for the last ten years. But, really, this time I must. And just to keep things in balance, I shall also go somewhere and climb on rocks. When it stops snowing.


Tim Sayles, Editor