Friday, March 02, 2007

from D.C.

I am told the snow is falling horizontally back in Madison. That the winds are causing significant drifts. People are urged to stay off the roads.

I hear this, but I cannot fully appreciate it. I am immersed in the first days of a Washington spring.

True, I am not here to play. A daughter is starting a job and helping her move here is the reason for this brief hike out east.

South east. If ever I needed a reminder that D.C. is part of the south, the weather this week-end does that for me, emphatically.

Lunch outdoors? Sure. Outside my daughter’s apartment building, the tables at the neighborhood eateries are crowded. (Sorry, Madisonians, for you, this scene may well be months away.)

march 07 028

A young man sits in front of a Starbucks, with a Whole Foods bag (Be Free, it reads) at his side – a new American urban vignette. It could be any city. No, wait, any city in the south.

march 07 022

I take the metro back to the airport to pick up a rental for the day. Washington is the only city in this entire nation that always jarringly reminds me of the wars fought, the sacrifices made. The memorials, sure, I see it in the memorials, and on the ride to the airport, in the rows of white stones at Arlington Cemetery. And further, as we pick up passengers at the Pentagon, in the faces of people, young men, young women, who think of this current war in such different ways than you or I.

march 07 026

An unreal city, with real people who work hard, long hours, others who look hard for work. People with families. Sons eatig lunch with parents at outdoor caf├ęs, daughters leaning on mothers' shoulders on the metro.