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When new to living in DC, do as the tourists do.

We\'re spring.  Love us!  WE COMMAND YOU TO LOVE US!


D.C. blossoms are indeed Attack Blossoms; otherwise, they could never survive here. Delicate little flowers in the middle of such a big city, so angry and clenched-up and snipey-- no. These are f-you blossoms, here because they are going to be here, and you will enjoy them.

 Cherry blossoms are shown to their best advantage in areas where there is constant water beneath the tree. They would do very well in a dorm bathroom. This is the Tidal Basin, near the Jefferson Memorial. You can totally paddleboat on it.

 So we did, largely so that we could claim we had lunch in the Tidal Basin. This, clearly, is what the Founding Fathers had in mind: life preservers, a clot of meat and mayonnaise, and thou. It marks the first time I've been in a paddleboat since the mid-80's, when my father paddled my sister and me out into the middle of a Colorado lake, at which point I announced that I had to go to the bathroom. He got me to the nearest bank, and I clambered ashore and pounded on the door of our motel room, which my mother opened to find me on the other side, weeping, life vest still firmly in place. I ran past her questions about who drowned and into the bathroom, at which point I came to terms with the fact that I should probably not join the Navy.

Paddleboating went a little better this time.

 For one thing, I managed to hold it until the Hour of Paddle was up. Cherry blossoms make everything a puffy white cloud of fragility. I must also pause here to sing praise to "A Royal Flush" Port-o-Potties. They are quite the king of all self-contained bodily waste disposal units. This one was pleasantly roomy, and featured a urinal, if not toilet paper. If you're using one and not the other, as Josh The Pilot did, it was a highly enjoyable bladder voiding experience.

Meet the Park Ranger of Doom, everyone! We took a tour of the Tidal Basin with Ranger Doom, who was very keen about educating us on the following points:

1) The cherry blossom trees are all going to die, die, DIE

2) And it's all your fault.

Ranger Doom made some excellent points about not touching, breaking, pulling, breathing on, or looking directly at the cherry blossoms, because once a bloom is broken off, it won't grow back next year. I kind of loved Ranger Doom a little bit at this point. I was very glad that he pre-yelled at everybody so that I wouldn't have to go around doing it individually. Seriously, people, back away from the cherry blossoms. They're not there for you. They're there for the Port-o-Potties.

Our cherry blossom edu-tour very quickly became the Voyage of Death and Decay, because Ranger Doom seemed physically incapable of walking past a tree, any tree, without pointing out what was wrong with it. "See this trunk?" he'd say. "Dutch Elm disease. This tree will never get as big as the older ones. I wouldn't be surprised if it topples over and crushes a chipmunk and two baby robins tomorrow." And then the wind would blow as the delicate white petals love-pelted us all, gently sprinkling over my jacket hood. And Ranger Doom would sigh.

"These trees are very stressed," he'd say. I stared ashamedly at my feet, silently resolving to bring the trees a massage therapist as soon as financially possible, with a side of Prozac for Ranger Doom.

The only thing which cheered Ranger Doom was a big ol' discussion of tree porn. "The trees have sex," he announced to the four and seven-year-olds in the audience, launching into an embarrassingly graphic discussion of self-pollination, and I wanted to leave the trees in peace with their Spread Twigs magazines and their Barry White.

Cherry Blossoms: Not That Innocent

We had attended on the final day of peak bloom, which means that some of the blossoms had already cashed in their 401(k)s and were on their way to Boca Raton. The petals piled up against the city curbs. I've seen sand do this in Florida, but the blossoms smelled slightly better.

The National Park Service provided a great deal of information about haikus, which is a form of poetry focusing on a brief, nature-specific moment, and suggested that we try one of our own about our experience with the blossoms-- right here in National Poetry Month. Okay!

O cherry blossoms

sex and the Port-a-Potty

Ranger Doom: "DECAY!"

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Reader Comments (15)

My husband and I were at the tidal basin last week and I had to laugh when I saw your pictures, because the highlight of our trip was....how nicely the cherry blossoms framed the porta potties.

April 5, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterKT

Absolutely hilarious. I will never look at a tree in bloom quite the same way.

April 6, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterHollee Chadwick Spicer

We are in the process of watching the peach and apple trees up here. I totally understand about the beauty of the blooms. I am sorry you had to deal with Ranger Doom. My friends went to DC for thier vacation this week to see the blooms. They left MN so I am sure any warmth was welcome but now I have to ask if they met Ranger Doom on thier tour too.

Loved the poetry too.

April 6, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterKell Belle

Ranger Doom had his charms. I pity the fool who tries to touch a cherry blossom with him on watch. That's the kind of man I want protecting our nation's trees! Tremble, O Touchers of the Blossoms! (And now I have to write a romance novel with that title.)

April 6, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterMB

Thanks for making me laugh on a tough day, MB! You're AWESOME!

April 6, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterSara N

I am kind of in love with Ranger Doom. He is clearly a man with a mission. To Protect. To Educate. And no matter how many times he has to say "Do. Not. Touch. The Blossoms," there will always be that moment where he gets to describe the birds and the bees and the stamen and the pistil to small children. And that, my friends, is what he truly lives for.

April 7, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterLex

So let it be written, so let it be done. The female lead in "Touchers of the Blossoms" will be named "Lex."

April 7, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterMB

Hysterical! That was great!
I will never ever touch a Cherry Blossom AGAIN!

April 7, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterKris

2 things...

Those photos are beautiful. With and without the porta potties!

"Spread Twigs" had me giggling like the 12 year old boy that I apparently am.

Thanks for making me laugh on a Monday morning that definitely needed it.

April 7, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterMeredith

"Delicate little flowers in the middle of such a big city, so angry and clenched-up and snipey– no. These are f-you blossoms, here because they are going to be here, and you will enjoy them."

Hilarious. Perhaps that is why they also bloom in NY?

I achingly miss seeing them every spring since I moved from NY to FL (better known as the State of SAND Everywhere). So thank you. This post brought me right back home. Just wait until all the blossoms fall off & pile up on the side roads, creating some odd sort of sticky flower-paper that will cling to your shoes. Good times.

April 7, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterVicki

Thanks for the picutres of the "perty" trees! Oh, and the 5-star port-o-potty.

Hey, the image of Ranger Doom is cropped, fearing he will send you a botanical damnation of sorts? ;-)

Josh, you traffic controllers are surely dexterous individuals, that you can actually paddle a boat AND eat a 1-foot sandwich at the same time! You sir have my complete admiration :-D

April 7, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterred pill junkie

And I now must go to DC during cherry blossom time. I've been before... during summer... All I noticed then was that people had an obnoxious tendency to vomit into sidewalk gutters. But, cherry blossoms may motivate me to make the journey again. Those are beautiful pictures! I just figured out how to post pictures to Blogger today, after 3 years blogging off and on... Adopted a cat, and needed to share my joy with the universe. :-)

April 7, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterThe Literary Vagrant

I just reread the comments, and I must say... you would make me the happiest woman in the WORLD. He could sing about doom, I could sing about love, it would be just like Phantom of the Opera, only with flowers.


April 12, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterLex

[...] Cherry Blossom Doomin’ Time Posted on Friday, April 3, 2009 by MB Since we have some new The Readers thanks to the general decline in American education and expectations, Blonde Champagne is celebrating this year’s Cherry Blossom Festival by not bothering to write a new post about it and linking to last year’s instead. [...]

[...] Blossom Linkin’ Time Friday, April 3rd, 2009 | Blonde Champagne | morningworksmedia Ranger Doom has missed you. Share and [...]

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