The 2013 National Cherry Blossom Festival ends tomorrow, but there’s still time to pick up the 2012 Cherry Blossom Centennial (Forever®) stamps. On the back of the sheet is a beautiful poem by Ki no Tomonori (c. 850–c.904):
the light filling the air
is so mild this spring day
only the cherry blossoms
keep falling in haste—
why is that so?
The poem captures the fleeting beauty of cherry blossoms, which are only around for a short time every spring. They appear annually, and then they’re quickly gone. According to the National Cherry Blossom Festival’s “Bloom Watch” web site: “The blooming period starts several days before the peak bloom date and can last as long as 14 days; however, frost or high temperatures combined with wind or rain can shorten this period.” (The Bloom Watch page also has a detailed list of peak bloom times over the years. The list goes back more than two decades.)
Can’t make the National Cherry Blossom Festival? The National Park Service has a cherry blossom web cam. That way, you can watch the cherry blossom trees bloom in real time!