Thursday, March 23, 2006

Following the Cherry Blossom Trail

My friend Karen and I went out in search of Yoshino cherry trees in full bloom this afternoon. We followed the map that has been seen in The Telegraph for guidance. Although cherry trees can be seen blooming all over town, the map's suggestions are places where the trees blooming are actually from cuttings taken from the original trees grown at the Rivoli Drive farm of the late William Fickling Sr. This fact alone makes these trees some of the town's oldest and largest trees. We figured the best places to start would be at the Fickling home on Ingleside Avenue and the Fickling farm. Both of these locations garnered a rating of "Full Bloom Beautiful" in our rating system. The trees are in full blossom at both of these locations and they completely cover the properties making it look almost as though the properties have been blanketed with a soft snow. While in front of the Ficlkling home on Ingleside, we came across an older gentleman from Florida. He told us this is his seventh year visiting Macon during the Cherry Blossom Festival. He and his wife travel here each spring and this year their party had grown to include five other couples. He was very excited about all of the blossoms this year, especially after last year's poor showing. He even noted that last year was the worst he'd ever seen blossom-wise. After visiting the two Fickling properties, we headed for Wesleyan Woods Drive, which is somewhat in the same neighborhood as the farm. The entire length of the street, from the moment you turn onto it to the moment you veer off in another direction, is in full bloom. The large white trees line the street, one after the other, as though they were chorus girls in a broadway show making their final curtsey; their graceful arms bedazzled with delicate gems. After riding down Wesleyan Woods, it was almost sad to head over to Coleman Hill and Third Street Park. We gave both areas a rating of "E for Effort: Better Luck Next Year," because while a few trees in each area are popping with blossoms, many have yet to emerge from their winter naps. This is sort of sad because many of these trees seem like they might not make their debut this year until after the festival is well over, but I'm not too down about it because it also means we'll get a second round of beauty to keep us excited until next year's festival.

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