The Ugliness Of Bloody-mindedness

Nothing is more exasperating than coming up against what can only be described as sheer bloody-mindedness. Someone has described it as having to face and deal with an “irrational no.” It’s like the slamming of an idea for the sake of slamming it, and who of us have not faced this in some guise or other?

The Washington Monument in Spring 2007. The sh...

The Washington Monument in Spring 2007. The shore of the Tidal Basin shows several blossoming cherry trees. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The remarkable story of Eliza R. Scidmore is a wonderful example of having faced this kind of attitude and won. She was a writer and photographer, and on returning to Washington from a trip to Japan in 1885, had a vision to plant cherry trees on the newly dredged land reclaimed along the Potomac River. She felt it would not only bring beauty to the city, but also hide the old dump heaps caused by the dredging. She faced rebuff after rebuff in the form of what one can only describe as sheer bloody-mindedness. One key official of the city complained that, “Boys would climb the trees to get at the cherries and break all the branches.” When Eliza enlightened him that the trees bore only blossoms, not cherries, he huffed, “No cherries! What good is that sort of cherry tree.?”

What do you do with that kind of response? Imagine where we’d be if it always got its way? Well, it didn’t with Eliza. She bravely soldiered on and eventually was able to plant 90 little saplings.

When the city of Tokyo heard about this they sent 3000 flowering cherries as a gift, many of which were planted around the Tidal Basin, so that they, in Eliza’s words, “Might be reflected in the water.”

Today, every spring, thousands of cherry trees planted around the Tidal Basin in Washington, D.C., burst forth in pink-and-white blossoms. They are a much-anticipated tourist attraction, the focus of a multi-week festival and a nationally known phenomenon that celebrates its 100th anniversary this year. What most people don’t know is that the idea for planting the trees came from an ahead-of-her-time woman named Eliza Scidmore.

Why am I sharing this with you? Simply because today I feel the need to celebrate the presence of people like Eliza R. Scidmore in our world, and the triumph of imagination and beauty over dullness and bloody-minded resistance.


About Don

I love life. Sometimes it makes sense, other times not. Discerning its underlying patterns and beauty always provides great reward and meaning and is a passion I ineptly follow. I feel deeply attached to nature and love the sea with its distinct moods and colour and find walking along its beaches wonderfully inspiring. Writing, sketching and photography is a sheer joy for me and the blog is one of the places I am able to express these pursuits.
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14 Responses to The Ugliness Of Bloody-mindedness

  1. kimleach says:

    Amen to that Don! Three cheers for Eliza R. Scidmore and those who like her, overcome the obstacles in their way!


  2. Len says:

    I’m afraid to say Don, that I have had to cope with one of those bloody-mindedness people in my head most of my life, those are the hardest ones to fight.


  3. Greg says:

    Don you biscuit! You just put the cherry on top of my day!


  4. Don says:

    Hell, Greg, if that’s the case, then I don’t mind being a biscuit. Thanks friend.


  5. Celeste Krummeck says:

    Thanks Don. Just loved that story!! Encouraging and uplifting 🙂


    • Don says:

      Thanks, Celeste. Glad you enjoyed it. Great to hear from you and I hope you are all keeping well, especially you. I think of you often. Strength and joy Celeste.


  6. Lyn says:

    Where do you hunt out your stories. Love them all the same


  7. What a wonderfully strong minded woman that Eliza was – and to have all those trees sent to her from Japan! What a legacy. Thank you very much for telling this story.

    Thank you, too,for liking my post Subdued Lighting, Rabbit and Old Phone Box.


  8. ladyfi says:

    What some people call bloody-mindedness is, perhaps, sheer determination to make the world a better place…

    Wonderfully inspiring post!


  9. Don says:

    True Fiona. I suppose it depends on what one is bloody-minded about. Thank you.


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