Tuesday, March 27, 2012


Our daughter Rozzie arrived in town just in time for the cherry blossoms. We went down on Friday and walked around the Tidal Basin, as is the annual custom. Their appearance sustains and encourages everyone in Washington. I suppose it's partly because when we look at their hundred year old knarled trunks a few weeks before the blossoms burst, nothing would suggest the fresh and ephemeral beauty that is about to appear.

But yet it always does.

Walking underneath that mist of delicate blossoms, you notice people take photographs. Of course, we took some too. We wanted to capture an impossible moment of freshness before it flew off in the breeze and turned to leaf. Four or five days of virginal perfection, and then it's gone for another year.

As we walked beneath the blossoms this spring, I reminded Ben and Rozzie of La Bocca della Verita in Rome - watching people line up patiently, in order to have their moment captured in a holiday snap. They took a few seconds and put their hand into the mouth of truth. But while doing so, they missed the experience, because they were so busy photographing it.

I've seen this too in front of the Venus De Milo. People crowd up to her at the Louvre and take their picture. They stand before her and smile, without ever looking at the sculpture itself or taking it in.

I hope we took in the cherry blossoms. Perhaps we photographed them as a kind of punctuation mark, a kind of note to remind ourselves that we could hardly believe they were real. I suspect we won't look much at those pictures.

There again, here's one for the road!

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