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To behold spring, and its blossoms

Nature is a now-you-see-it, now-you-don't event. Clear the schedule for a good look.

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Perfect timing. This spring's cherry blossoms in Washington peaked at the start of the city's scheduled blossom festival. Such a rare coincidence of human plans and natural events only reaffirms the advice to revel in splendor and beauty – and to at this time of year.

Henry David Thoreau wrote that "I cannot preserve my health and spirits, unless I spend four hours a day at least, – and it is commonly more than that, – sauntering through the woods and over the hills and fields, absolutely free from all worldly engagement."

Most Americans don't have four hours a day for such sauntering. They are far too busy for even one hour. Far too preoccupied for even a few minutes' spontaneous encounter with sublime beauty, as the winner of this year's Pulitzer Prize for newspaper feature writing made clear.

The prize was awarded this week to Washington Post humorist Gene Weingarten, whose muse wasn't nature but music, which can be just as breathtaking. Here's the gist of his piece:

Coming out of a Washington Metro subway one day, Mr. Weingarten noticed that commuters paid scant attention to a talented street musician. They probably wouldn't even notice Yo-Yo Ma if he were playing on his soulful cello, Weingarten thought. While he couldn't line up the famed cellist for a debut at the Metro, he did interest world-renowned violinist Joshua Bell.


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