It’s been a long one, but a good one. Today I ventured into D.C. thanks to my friend Corri. I’m not sure if I normally would be down to see the city on a weekday, but my first thought was that would be good for the blog. That’s what it’s come to now – do it for the blog!!
Unfortunately, I’m horrible with public transportation. Maybe something to do with not wanting to make a fool of myself, but I haven’t exactly tried to learn. I guess learning through trial and error is sometimes the only way to learn. But we finally got me a reusable metro pass (ooh, how city of me), and off we went.
As we walked through town, I kept thinking of my times in Boston. The city and its historic, brick buildings had more of a charm than any other city I’ve been to, but maybe those feelings are more so tied to the person I once shared it with. Maybe I’ll never love another concrete city in the way that I loved Boston, but I’m okay with that – the mountains have my heart now.
Wow I wish these pictures were less grainy. Soon I’ll be putting in those hours for some kind of camera, either a point and shoot or a GoPro if I’m lucky enough. Anyways.
After walking through the city, I realized just how little I knew of the place. I’ve been to D.C. a handful of times and I live an hour west. Corri is from Wisconsin and she said she and her family used to go twice a month when they first moved here. Mental checklist: take advantage of being this close to D.C. more often… do it for the blog! Do it for yourself!
I guess the monuments don’t really captivate me anymore. I don’t know if they ever really did. How are George Washington’s accomplishments immortalized by a giant toothpick? Museums may have a stronger effect on me, but even then I don’t really remember ever being touched to my core by staring at an historical artifact. I need to feel a connection. I remember going to the Native American museum on a field trip once. As I’m part Native American, I found it incredibly fascinating. It combined the modern day museum with the spiritual nature of the indigenous tribes of North America.
Side note, they knew how to live. I don’t know anyone who doesn’t feel healed by being out in nature. An old friend of mine decided he wanted to explore different religions, and he landed on Taoism because it was all about finding the path to the ultimate goal: returning to nature. That thought crosses my mind every time I step on a Maryland shuttle bus. If there was ever a place that needed to return to nature, it is College Park.
Back to D.C.
The Cherry Blossom Festival is this weekend, so we trekked past the monuments in the hopes of seeing some beautiful blossoms. We weren’t disappointed. We wove our way through the netting of people, dodging strollers, ducking past cameras, tripping over roots as we searched for a picturesque moment.
(I’d say we found a few)
Corri was talking, ever the tour guide, about how the cherry blossoms were given to us as a gift from Japan after WWII. The idea was a bit absurd, considering our dirty hands. I hope we gave something to them in return.
I thought it silly, what we consider an apology. Thousands upon thousands of people were killed in Pearl Harbor and in Hiroshima, lives cut short or damaged beyond repair. Children grew up in fear, and they were to be considered the lucky ones because they were given the chance to grow up. Mothers, wives, brothers, all other family thrown into depression at the loss of their children, lovers, role models, etc., and we are given the gift of beautiful cherry blossoms in the hopes of putting these horrors in the past.
These lives ruined by war, such a logical and methodical idea. The reparation? A beautiful, artistic idea, as if the left brain is responsible for the attack and the right brain is responsible for damage control. I have a hunch that the minds that thought the cherry blossoms to be a beautiful, meaningful statement were not the same minds behind the kamikaze pilots.
But our acceptance of these beautiful trees is evidence that we do hold meaning in symbolism. We understand the beauty, we see the sacrifice, we forgive. Nothing is ever as blissful is finally being able to forgive. You feel the house of anger, misery, and bitterness that you have built collapse on itself, and the new breath of life is what it truly feels to be free.
I find it beautiful that these trees, these symbols, are a sufficient peace offering. To see the blush petals falling softly to the ground, no matter how harsh the wind whips, instilled a calmness in me. In a bustling city surrounded by people, cars, and buses, I felt quiet. Peaceful.
And on our way back to College Park, Corri and I ran to catch our train and she hopped inside just as the doors were closing, leaving me still standing on the platform. Lucky enough, she and a nice man were able to wrench the doors open wide enough for me to slip inside. Almost had me, L’Enfant!
I am learning to be a tourist, that it’s okay to have your camera out to capture a moment you don’t want to lose. I’m also learning that it doesn’t have to be the perfect picture to still hold meaning (although I do still want a better camera).
Lucky me, I got to continue my serenity by ending the day with yoga. I haven’t been in weeks, so my shoulders and triceps are not happy with me right now, but it’s a start. Here’s to getting back on track.
Wednesday’s yoga classes always get to me. During the closing moments, lying peacefully on our backs (I’m not even going to attempt to spell the word, but I think it’s pronounced suh-va-sin-a), listening to whatever background noise Chad has picked out for us today, I almost always have a profound moment with myself.
A few weeks ago, after having a horrible day, bound so tightly by anger, I came to yoga and worked it out. I felt calmer, sure, but still upset. During the final moments of rest, Chad played sounds of soft rain, thunder murmuring in the background. I was instantly pulled back to when I was 11 years old. I don’t even think it’s a memory, just a vision. I was 11, sitting in the warm, green, dewy grass in my backyard. It was summer, and it was humid, and I was quietly listening to the storm that had just rolled through. I have since spent the past few weeks trying to chase that calmness, that peace, during difficult times.
Today, Chad played something different from the rain and thunder. I was trying to imagine what it could be, and suddenly I was in Victoria’s backyard, with her and our other neighborhood friends surrounding a bonfire that sat in the old washbin. It was a clear night, crickets chirping, and I just sat and smiled. Victoria and Jess were talking animatedly, and I just sat back and smiled.
I think it says something that my peace has been found in nature, back home in Middletown, and when I was younger. I don’t know what it means, but I’ll keep searching.
For now, I think I’ll watch Ponyo. Or maybe I should go to bed since I have class in the morning… But I think Ponyo would make me happier.