Where’s a grove filled with cherry blossoms when you need it? A colder-than-average spring threw off horticulturalists’ best predictions, and Washington D.C.’s famed “Cherry Blossom Festival,” planned for peak blooming week, brought more tourists than blossoms.

The stunning view of blooming cherry groves around the tidal basin, with the Jefferson Memorial awash in color and the Washington Monument standing tall against a blue sky, is an iconic image of Americana.

This year, tourists saw more buds than blossoms, but folks who thought they’d be at the tail end of the season this coming weekend will get the cherries in their full glory.

The trees in my yard have been on a similar course. While my small weeping cherry has bloomed nicely, the larger Japanese cherry beside it remains bare-branched, waiting for a few days of warmer weather before it bursts into bright pink, double-blossomed glory.

Just another reminder that while we may enjoy this beautiful world and even understand much of what makes it tick, we can’t control it. Virtually all early religions included one or more weather gods, as humans sought to bring rain and fertile growing conditions through prayers and sacrifices to the appropriate deities. That’s why, for instance, the Israelites were so drawn to various manifestations of the Canaanite gods Baal and Asherah.

Despite all of our amazing advances in science and technology, there are some things we can’t control — a helpful reminder brought to us this year by a whole bunch of late bloomers.

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