Dear Bridget, Remember the Cherry Blossom Festival

Dear Bridget,

I remember how people in Macon used to talk about the Cherry Blossom Festival like people in other towns used to talk about the weather; “Oh the Cherry Blossoms might bloom before the festival this year”, or “Yeah, I live on the Cherry Blossom Trail”. It seemed like magic when we were little, right around Easter time those pretty little trees fluffing out their pink petals in sync with the dogwood trees’ smelly white flowers. My mom told me that they always bloom on time, and all the petals fall off right when they’re supposed to. Lately I’ve been wondering, what if magic really is real.

We had this cherry blossom tree right at the bottom of our driveway. It was small and short enough to climb; you didn’t have to be a particularly adventurous kid to venture up its branches. And one day, probably when I was about 4, I was in the backseat when my mom picked me up from somewhere and we drove home into my driveway. The wind blew right when we pulled up to my tree and it rained pink petals like magic, just like my mom had told me, right onto the car windows above my head. I thought it was so smart, those petals falling right like they were supposed to, heralding the hot air balloons and festivals and summer. Pink ice-cream and pink fountains and pink poodles. We could have walked to the field of hot air balloons from my house, but you don’t really walk to places in Macon, I guess. Not enough sidewalks you know. Except on the way to the pool. You could walk t0 the pool.

I came home one day from college and the tree was gone. Pulled into the driveway and all that was left was a silver stump, the first thing I noticed. I always told my parents that if the cat died, I didn’t want them to tell me. As if one day I would come home and she wasn’t there, and I maybe just wouldn’t quite notice. They didn’t tell me about the tree.

There are a lot of trees in the park near where I live. There are cherry blossoms, but they don’t feel as important as our childhood trees. I took pictures of them for you.

the trees of our childhood

the trees of our childhood

they shut down all the night highways under the bridge

they shut down all the night highways under the bridge

you ran all the way around the town

you ran all the way around the town

i wasn't the only one who stopped running to take a photo of this tree

i wasn’t the only one who stopped running to take a photo of this tree

Let’s just drop everything and drive to the beach tomorrow. I can’t stop listening to this. Is it the soundtrack to our roadtrip?

I love you more than I want you to walk like you know where you’re going,

Anna

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