Cherry Blossom Sculptures

This year, the National Cherry Blossom Festival decided to not have a parade and street festival, which typically happen on the last day of the 2-week celebration. Instead, the festival asked artists to create designs for 26 cherry blossom sculptures, and these were placed around the Washington, DC area.

My two daughters and I had fun tracking down some of the sculptures. The festival provides a helpful map to find them.

Below are the sculptures we saw. Click on each photo to jump to that sculpture’s page on the festival’s website, which tells more about the sculpture and artist.

Sculpture decorated with heart shapes and swirls.
“Celebration” by Sandra Pérez-Ramos
Sculpture decorated with two women sitting in a tree, with many birds also on the tree. Done in a folk art style.
“Cherry Garden” by Rashin Kheiriyeh
Sculpture decorated with picnic blanket and basket of bread, wine, and fruit.
“Cherry Blossom Picnic” by Rachael Bohlander
Sculpture decorated with the word HOPE written in different styles, along the lines of graffiti
“HOPE” by Aaron Feinstein
Sculpture decorated with a grid map of Washington DC
“Community Grid” by My Ly & Jaclyn Stallard

Rattling of Bones

Photo of skeleton decorations in a front yard. The skeletons wear flower crowns and flowers dangle from their hands.

The rattling of bones you hear is not from the skeletons shivering in winter, but from their dancing —

not dancing due to the countdown to Halloween as October’s days count up, but due to spring’s arrival —

for the skeletons like spreading joy as well as fright, as if one section of Monsters, Inc. was kept to the fear mission, and a new section was re-purposed to the laugh mission, rather than the entire factory aiming for a single mission

(which sounds limiting; this world is a complex place),

and in this season of rebirth, it’s time to feel the sun and rain on your bones and wear a crown of flowers

(because we’re all royalty in the wealth of spring),

then dance ‘round the May Pole

(or any tree will do, hug it afterwards and thank it for the lovely oxygen),

then admire the growth of leaf greens and daffodil yellows and tulip reds and tree blossom pinks and azalea purples, then smell the smells of plant life returning to the world —

one wonders if the skeletons are jealous of rebirth, if they wish for renewal of muscles and veins and nerves, wouldn’t they want to return to fullness of what they were before; however, let’s not forget:

nerves bring pain as well as pleasure, such is the dichotomy we juggle, and let’s also not forget:

if their muscles regrew, we wouldn’t hear the clackety clack clacking of dancing bones to accompany the flute and tambourine and bodhrán.

copyright © 2021 Dave Williams

Not So Silent Spring

I feel lucky
to wake up and hear the
intricate chattering of
multitudes of birds, as if
they’re telling each other
of their dreams dreamed last night
and their plans for the day.

Fortunately, spring is not silent
here in Silver Spring,
where Rachel Carson lived for
many years (while summering in Maine).
A past spring, my daughter and I
heard Linda Lear give a talk about
her biography of Ms. Carson
(after the talk was postponed due
to a snowstorm), and the room
was packed with eager listeners.

So Ms. Carson still talks on, with warnings
for those ears who still pay attention,
to our eyes thankful to see bald eagles
in their full-winged reality and not just
in a Google image search,
to our wishes and plans and work
for infinite springs
filled with chattering birds.

copyright © 2021 Dave Williams

Two Roads

Rachel Carson lived for a time in Silver Spring, Maryland, and her work is celebrated in the town at a sculpture called Two Roads, after a passage from her famous book:

“We stand now where two roads diverge. But unlike the roads in Robert Frost’s familiar poem, they are not equally fair. The road we have long been traveling is deceptively easy, a smooth superhighway on which we progress with great speed, but at the end lies disaster.” — Rachel Carson, Silent Spring (1962)

This passage is shown on three panels at the sculpture, which can be tricky to read, since the panels are transparent, and another quote from Carson is printed on the other side. Studio William Cochran designed the sculpture.

Three panels printed with the Two Roads quotation from Rachel Carson

Daffodils in the Sun

photo of many daffodils with their heads angled up to the sun

I wrote a poem after seeing daffodils in the rain, and after seeing them in sunlight for many days, I poem nudged me to write one about that…

Daffodils in the Sun
by Dave Williams

Miniature suns
announcing warmer days
and even warmer ones
                       to arrive soon.
Their heads are angled up,
as if they’re
a crowd of
                    standing people
gazing upward
at something
          (launching rocket?
           soaring caped superhero?
           flying geese in formation
           to spell out HELLO THERE
           [geese seem to prefer
            spelling in capital letters]?)
that has grabbed
their attention
and refuses to let go.

photo of many daffodils with their heads angled up to the sun

poem and photos copyright © 2021 Dave Williams

Daffodils in the Rain

Their yellow and white
(and some orange)
are muted
on this wet morning.
one of the daffodils
nods a little,
as a raindrop
taps its head,
like a teacher saying,
“Wake up, sleepyhead.
Just because
the sun isn’t shining
doesn’t mean the world
isn’t beautiful.
It’s lovely in a different way.
Listen to
the melodious music
of us raindrops.”

Cherry Blossoms

I live in Maryland, and I love when spring arrives. Warmer days, and colorful flowers pop up, as if wanting to show off what they can do after the Christmas lights had their time to shine. Crocus, daffodils, tulips, hyacinth, azaleas. Lots of azalea bushes around here.

Most popular are the cherry blossoms, as they have their own festival in Washington, DC. Typically a two-week celebration with kite flying, parade, street fair, and more. Locals and tourists stroll around the Tidal Basin, ringed by the beautiful trees.

This year, however, the festival will be different due to Covid-19, in trying to avoid large gatherings. Artists painted 26 cherry blossom sculptures, and these have been placed around the DC area. If you’d like to go on a Blossom Hunt, there’s a handy map for the sculptures’ locations at the Art in Bloom page. Also, residents are encouraged to decorate the front of their properties, so we can embark on Petal Porch Parades. It’s a creative solution to doing things differently during Covid, as they did in New Orleans and elsewhere for Mardi Gras, turning it into “Yardi Gras.”

But if you don’t live in the area, here are some photos I took of visits to the Tidal Basin in the past. Cherry blossoms are found in other spots, yet this popular because of the concentration of the trees there.

Click on the photos to see larger versions. The last one, on the bottom right, shows petals that the wind blew off the trees and collected on the ground near a drain. The scene made for a neat way to see the petals differently. In this askew way, the petals look like pink snow or rain about to wash into underground pipes.