It was the Ides of March on Friday, the midpoint of a month of change, and a day that this year seemed a significant meteorological and cultural landmark. It was the year’s warmest day, with much about from air to ground asserting the arrival of spring.
Among the transitions that occurred Friday was the start of spring break at one major academic institution here, the University of Maryland at College Park. Classes do not resume there until March 25.
At other universities, such as Howard and George Washington, spring break was coming to an end, and classes were to resume on Monday.
But either way, the sense of the passage of academic time and the change of student spirits were in the air, along with the uncommon warmth.
Fluctuation characterizes conditions and temperatures in March, the month that struggles to shrug off the chill of winter and open its arms to the exhilaration of spring.
So it was notable, but perhaps not so surprising, that the temperature soared 44 degrees between Wednesday and Friday.
Early Wednesday, the mercury fell to 34 degrees at Reagan National Airport, just two above freezing.
At the airport on Friday, the thermometer reached an incontestably springlike 78. It had not been so warm here since the 90 degrees of October 4.
A glance around showed that the flowers and trees were beginning to bloom. Yellows and even blues could be spotted in many places.
Around the Tidal Basin, most of the celebrated cherry trees were still far from reaching peak bloom, which is not officially expected this year until early in April.
But not all cherry trees are alike. There are different kinds, and they place themselves on display at different times.
In her backyard, to cite one example, Leslie Muldoon of the District said her cherry tree was already blooming.