Before 8am, three days ago, I got a call from my friend Ann. “I’m down at the Tidal Basin, and the cherry trees are fabulous. You should be here.”

Ann remembers almost every year to make a pilgrimage to see the blossoms. This year, she was willing to do it again so I could go too. I left my house at 6:30 this morning, just as the sky behind the buildings was lightening to that beautiful Maxfield Parrish blue that makes everything look like a stage set. By the time I got to the Mall, the sun was an orange ball peeking around the Capitol dome.

We still had the morning light as we strolled around the Tidal Basin. Some of these pictures make it look like we were the only people around…but that’s deceiving. There was an army of photographers – people carrying cameras with long lenses and tripods, people who looked quite serious about framing their shots. I’m sure we walked into quite a few of them. Other people had brought blankets and were having breakfast picnics between the Roosevelt Memorial and the water.

This year, for the first time, the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial is on the cherry blossom path; the statue of Dr. King gleamed among the blossoms in the early morning light.

By the time we finished our circuit, tourists were arriving in force. We made our getaway, serene and smiling.