Signs of the season
By Alex Visser
The famous cherry blossom trees that decorate the Quad have come to symbolize many things for UW students: a promise of summer, new beginnings, a taste of home. Each spring, the Seattle campus comes alive as daffodils, crocuses, and cherry blossoms proudly display their brilliant flowers.
In an increasingly diverse student body made up of varying demographics and majors, the Quad’s cherry trees represent a point of convergence between UW students, who gather around the blossoms annually to bask in their natural splendor.
The renowned cherry blossoms arrived in 1939 as a gift to the university from Japan. The trees were originally planted at the Washington Park Arboretum, before the construction of State Route 520’s Evergreen Point Floating Bridge forced them to the UW in 1962.
The hasty transport brought with it fears that the trees would not bloom, but those worries were extinguished that spring when pink radiance penetrated the UW campus for the first time. A half-century later, the trees continue to bloom without fail, but it will not always be so.
While the cherry trees are healthy today, climate change has forced them to bloom earlier than in years past. This is dangerous, for while the weather is warmer, it is not necessarily better for the trees’ livelihoods.
Someday the blossoms will lose their magnificence, and the trees will die. Future generations of UW students will not have the experience of beauty that is known so well today.
For now, UW students find solace in the warmth of color that has illuminated the Quad each spring for 55 years, comforted by the tease of summer and the promise of renewal.