Today’s post comes to us from Occasional Caroline.

I don’t really have a bucket list, but for quite a while I’ve thought it would be delightful to see the cherry blossoms in Washington DC. It’s tough to predict when to be there, but last year I thought I had it nailed. I found a website ( https://cherryblossomwatch.com/peak-bloom-forecast/ ) that predicts and tracks the probable peak bloom days for the annual display. Without knowledge of this website, you probably do not know that there is an “indicator tree” that helps the National Park Service fine tune the prediction of Peak Bloom. For reasons too complicated for me to comprehend, one particular tree hits stage one of the 6 stages of blossom development nearly 2 weeks before the all the rest; the others usually follow on a predictable timetable. Usually, but not in 2017. 2017 was not a typical year in DC, on many levels.

http://www.cherryblossomwatch.com

The latest information and forecasts on when Washington DC’s cherry blossoms around the Tidal Basin will reach peak bloom in Spring 2018.

But I digress. In late February, due to a very mild winter in the nation’s capital, the indicator tree indicated that the 2017 bloom would possibly be the earliest in history and particularly spectacular. The original prediction was March 10-13. The earliest ever recorded was March 15, the latest, April 18, and average somewhere around the last week of March to the first week in April. The whole show lasts 1-2 weeks, from buds to petals on the ground and green leaves on the trees; and peak lasts 2-3 days. That time frame was particularly convenient for us to take a trip last spring, so the planning began. We decided to leave on March 11, the day after our granddaughter’s 7th birthday party. We hit the road (yes, we drive on vacations) early Saturday morning, heading east. The plan was to be in DC from the 13-15 and then spend a week in the Williamsburg area. Day one was going well until we started hearing reports of the cold snap hitting the East coast. The NPS started pushing back the prediction for peak cherry blossom bloom. Suddenly the buds were encased in ice and it might possibly be the first no-bloom year in history. Peak, if there was to be one, would be at least a week later than previously predicted.

Time to rethink. Go to Williamsburg first, spend the week there and go to DC on the way home. Good plan. No problem changing reservations, peak Williamsburg season and peak cherry blossom season do not correspond. Remember the cold snap hitting the East coast. Yep, that includes Virginia. We weren’t looking for Florida weather, but 20s? Blustery, frigid winds? For days? We made the best of it, we went to the attractions that were open; most opened April 1. We were there March 13-20. We had a good time in Virginia and there was going to be at least a 50% of normal blossom “peak” on March 25, it was now March 20 and time to leave Williamsburg. Husband had been fighting off some insidious eastern US disease for a day or so, but seemed to be winning. It wasn’t peak yet, but this might be the closest we’d ever get, so we scheduled a Cherry Blossom bus tour of DC for the next day, that would require getting up pretty early, but we could handle that. Right? Nope. The illness won during the night and a feverish, achy, mess of a man was not going to make it from Williamsburg to DC and enjoy a bus tour that day. Well medicated and much later than our original plan, we headed west without ever seeing a single cherry blossom.

I have a new cherry blossom plan in mind now. My chiropractor tells me that his uncle lived in Traverse City MI, which is known (at least in Michigan) as the cherry capital of the US. If they have cherries, they must have cherry blossoms, right? While checking it all out, I discovered that a shortcut to Traverse City is to go to Door County WI and take a ferry to Traverse City, thereby going across Lake Michigan instead of around it, and with a boat ride to boot. I’ll just look at pretty pictures of the DC peak, and head for Wisconsin next time I have a yen to see cherry blossoms.

Have you ever fought with Mother Nature?

43 thoughts on “”

  1. Sportsmen–especially anglers–often deal with timing issues. I used to pursue “steelhead” trout (rainbow trout that mostly live in large bodies of water but return to streams in spring to spawn). Steelhead fishing is difficult at best and impossible if one’s timing is imperfect. Closer to home, the opening of fishing seasons is powerfully affected by the whims of weather.

    Sportsman learn that natural events like spawning are triggered by nature’s clock. That clock has an hour hand and a minute hand. The hour hand is day length. Day length is a stable influence, as one year is like another. The minute hand is weather, which for fish is primarily tied to water temperature. This changes year by year.

    Those two forces combine to regulate natural events. Day length is the conservative influence, the one that doesn’t change. Weather and climate are the fidgety factors that cause natural events to be early or late. For example, our current winter has been severe enough that cherry blossoms might appear later than usual.

    Timing is inherently tricky. The best plan, when workable, is to make plans based on historical records but then use fresh data from local observers before committing to a trip.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Good plan B for seeing cherry blossoms, OC. Shorter drive with a boat ride and you don’t have to be in the same city as the president. Door County also has many cherry trees, so you might get to see cherry blossoms more than once on your trip.

    My most recent fight with the weather was last fall. I felt compelled to go out as much as possible and shoot photos of the beautiful things that can be seen in a Minnesota autumn. Unfortunately – and most people wouldn’t see this as unfortunate – it seemed that we had a large number of very sunny days last autumn and the times I was able to go out shooting invariably were very sunny, very bright, and quite often in the middle of the day. This type of lighting, while good for a person’s mood, can be quite challenging for a photographer and I found myself often hoping for a cloudy day but was always disappointed.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. What a lovely header photo, OC, I can almost feel a gentle spring breeze. Sorry that your cherry blossom adventure didn’t pan out as you had hoped. Your alternate plan for this year sounds promising.

    I consider myself extremely lucky to have never experienced firsthand the devastation that mother nature can wreak. When I think of all of the natural disasters that have occurred in my lifetime, or even just the last ten to fifteen years, I consider it truly amazing that I’ve never really been affected by any of it.

    My personal battles with mother nature revolve around gardening. As gardeners go, I’m not very ambitious, but what I lack in ambition I make up for with enthusiasm and optimism. I’ve more than once planted a tree, shrub or perennial in a growth zone where it had little chance of surviving. I’m also blessed with a short memory, so those failures haven’t prevented me from repeating them. I’m glad that tulips and daffodils can be relied upon in this area to provide the burst of color that I yearn for in April.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I see you’ve had to be flexible, Caroline! Yikes.

    High waters seem to be our nemesis. When trying to return from Washington state on Amtrak’s Empire Builder in April 2009, a bridge was flooded out at Minot, ND. We had to fly the last leg of the trip, which was disappointing (and expensive).

    And I’ve written about our attempt at a Viking River Cruise in 2015, when high waters from excessive rains and early snow melt in South of France stymied the longboats from going under bridges.

    Hmmmm.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. We planned as carefully as we could to see the Keukenhoff Gardens (tulips and bulbs) near Amsterdam a few years ago. Europe’s weather cooperated with us more than it did for you. Those flower gardeners have learned to work with nature to get what they want.

      Liked by 2 people

  5. A lot of farming is trying to get along with Mother Nature.
    I wouldn’t exactly call it ‘fighting’ because it doesn’t help.
    I can yell and scream and get mad and stressed… but it doesn’t help. So really it’s better if I don’t stress out. It is what it is.
    Like OC’s Cherry Blossom trip.

    Liked by 4 people

  6. Husband is provided with tribal housing on the reservation. It is a very decent studio-type unit in a string of double wide mobile homes. When the temps and wind chills get really low, the pipes invariably freeze, and husband has to fund a room un a hotel. He niw leaves the water running a small bit when he leaves, just to keep the pipes clear.

    We always worry about his trips back and forth to the rez, as the road is a two lane with lots of oil traffic through rough Badlands terrain. We always check the weather, and road conditions, and adjust the departure time accordingly. PJ’s Hans drove that road when he visited a couple of years ago. It was a pretty alarming drive, I understand.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Rise and Shine Baboons,

    I am fighting Mother Nature’s Cold Virus right now. I think I picked it up in MN and now am sleeping through a nice day in AZ.

    In the same vein as Ben’s comment about farming, gardening is all about trying to manage nature’s processes and make them predictable. I agree it won’t work to fight it, but managing it? Yes. I do save the “fighting” part for the vermin. Mice and bunnies are what I am willing to declare upon.

    Fair weather sports fan that I am, tomorrow I will be fighting the Viking propensity for caving in during the play offs.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Fast healing to you, Jacque. My minnesota cold lasted about a month, but you probably don’t want to hear that. The worst of it was over in a couple weeks.

      I actually got invited to watch the vikings game at a neighbor’s house tomorrow. I wish I knitted so I could do something productive (and a little distracting) during the game but I don’t. The neighbor probably won’t appreciate it if I bring a book to read.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I am down today with the Dakota fever, cough, aches, and chills. I have tomorrow off, but I sure didn’t want to spend it in bed.

        Like

  8. We took that route with the ferry. Door County is so pretty. I imagine the trees will be in orchard formation, but it will be for acres and acres and very spectacular. We were there at harvest time and got a cooler full of wonderful sour pie cherries.

    Liked by 3 people

  9. Most everyone has now heard about the false alarm in Hawaii. I just finished this parody.
    To the tune of Blue Hawaii
    “Frighten you
    Who spooked Hawaii?
    The fright of weaponry
    Arm’geddon has come to thee.
    Love that you
    are spooked Hawaii.
    With all this nuclear mess
    It could have been true.
    Cover and duck with me
    in a saloon before we flee
    This fright upon us sprung
    so drinks are free.
    Screams are due
    In spooked Hawaii
    The End could still be true
    Kim has his sights on you.
    Cover and duck with me
    in a saloon before we flee
    This fright upon us sprung
    And drinks are free
    Over you
    In spooked Hawaii
    No mushroom cloud has come
    but hungover are you.”

    Liked by 5 people

  10. Morning all. I’m not sure I’ve ever fought with Mother Nature; let’s face it, you’re certainly never going to win that battle.

    When I was a teenager, I spent a week in Biloxi on a mission trip. We were staying in a rickety old community center on stilts with no hot water – not the Ritz by any means. Weather turned ugly and when the tornado sirens started to sound, they actually made us leave the building and go lie in a ditch nearby, fearing the building would collapse if hit. Very scary. (Building did not get hit and no one was injured!)

    Liked by 2 people

  11. We fought with the weather all last summer, when it was uber hot and dry so that lots of things didn’t germinate until later in the summer, and then we had to hope that everything would get ripe before the first killing frost.

    Like

  12. YA came home from running some errands today and announced loudly and with obvious annoyance “It’s snowing.” As if this hasn’t ever happened in January before!!

    Liked by 1 person

  13. When I’m doing gardening work, I regularly have to rearrange my schedule around the weather. Especially at the beginning of the season. I’m always hopeful that there will be good weather in April, and then it will be rainy when I’m at the flower shop in the week or so leading up to Mother’s Day. It never works out, though. Generally the days I have to be at the flower shop are the very days that would be perfect for the gardening work. Then right after Mother’s Day is over we get a stretch of rainy weather. I suspect Mother Nature of plotting it out to spite me.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. it was a great one
      i had my mom over and was explaining how and why they were doing it and what was hoping through everyone’s mind and them bammo just like out of my playbook… we win
      philly then new england
      dang this is gonna be fun

      Liked by 1 person

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