My husband and I ended up in Raleigh, North Carolina, and then in Washington, DC in the last week. This was due to work.
We’ve learned to deal with work demands relatively well. We don’t get real weekends in the labor movement sense (see last weekend, or this Saturday, when other than chatting on the phone with one of my best friends in the AM and a lunch people watching with E, the rest of the day today was *all* work (or taxes)).
We've traded the majority of those free weekends people seem to have as I drive by on my way to do what it is I do (or fly far away) for a different path.
Last week, on a Wednesday, E & I found ourselves in Washington, DC, with the cherry blossoms popped a week early. How cool!
|These blossoms are absolutely gorgeous!|
We both agreed to take several hours off in the middle of our work days to enjoy the spectacle together. We took the metro to the Smithsonian station. We walked along the national mall, laughing at how all the lawns were being industrially modified with plastic coverings and tractors and digging and gravel for the upcoming cherry blossom festival. Also, almost all the viewing pools were empty (Lincoln memorial reflecting pools -- full of nothing but orange safety cones). Even so, our walk to the Washington Memorial, then to the WWII memorial, and finally to and around the Lincoln memorial and back along the Patomac with all of the gorgeous tress was so enjoyable.
And this is something we can do because we *can* work on the weekends. We both pushed several hours of work out of our way so we could enjoy the walk and views. We'll pay for it later (and we did, this weekend, in fact), but the flexibility was appreciated.
But do you want to know what the best part of this experience was?
E reached out and took my hand on our way up the steps to the Lincoln memorial. No discussion. Nothing verbal. This was a big deal. Silently. We each had our own reasons. At the top of the stairs, slightly winded, we let go of our hands just as the couple who’d climbed the steps in front of us, a blonde woman and African-American man, stopped and stared.
They were both obviously emotionally moved at the beautiful monument to equality. He pulled out his phone to take many photos of the thin granite sky-lights, the huge statue, the stairs up, and the national mall in the distance. She re-assuringly held his left shoulder while he did so.
It was beautiful, and I felt a little too voyeuristic in how much pleasure I took from observing their moment.
Yet, at that moment, I was consciously so very proud to be an American and deep, deep down, I knew that’s why E grabbed my hand on the way up the stairs. We are both of this place. And it is a grand, wonderous country. It is one of many excellent things we are lucky enough to share.
And, this, my friends, is one of the millions of reasons why I am desperately, madly, and fully in love with my husband. I feel very, very lucky to be in love with and committed to someone who knows me, loves me, and shares so many of my values, appreciations and, yes, my country's culture and heritage, diverse and complex as it can be.
On the running front, this week was nothing to brag about. Mostly walks instead of runs due to work and travel obligations. But movement is movement and the total mileage still hit 17 or 18 miles. Not ideal 2 weeks out from a half marathon, of course, but sometimes, you just have to take what you can get.