It was a nice, cool (for August) mid Atlantic morning. The sun was above the horizon for a scant thirty minutes when I arrived at Huntley Meadows. It appeared that there was quite a few people interested in walking around the park, through the boardwalk, to breathe the fresh air from the wetlands (in the midst of suburban Alexandria, Virginia). I was surprised by the great number of photographers walking about. It is that rare day in August that offers abundant sunlight without the high temperatures of the Washington summer. And so it was that I came to the park, to once again look for warblers or kingfishers. As has become my custom, I got distracted. I did not mind the slight detour.
It’s been a while since my last post. Between work, training, and the busy hum of life in suburbia, I haven’t had much of a chance to post something. There’s also the problem with having a little bit of writers’ block. Weekends are filled with picture taking and cleaning up the house, a little bit. Why do I have all this stuff and what am I going to do with it? Over the years, you buy a small thing here, a small thing there. Cabinets, once empty, fill up. The floor in my study is not quite as open as it once was. A pile of papers here, a pile of papers there. No, I am not going to go through the process of holding each time and trying to find out if this thing or that things gives me joy. Truthfully, there’s just too many things to pick up that if you were to somehow divinate that this or that is giving me joy, I may end up with arms even more tired than they already are. So I’ll just throw some things out, donate some things, and assume that what’s left is giving me joy. Heck, how much joy can a guy take in one day?
Anyway, I took the day off to ruminate. I went for a short walk at the Mosaic District, one of the mixed use neighborhoods that are popping up in Northern Virginia. I love walking around here. There’s a movie theater, a couple of shops and eateries to go to, space for people to walk around and just enjoy the day. This morning, I stopped by the Praline Bakery, one of those nice places to grab a quick bite and just enjoy a few minutes of alone time (before the noon rush). A crisp apple confection (I forgot what they call it) that’s just sweet enough without being overwhelming, with that slightly tart flavor that makes you savor it even more. A nice cup of coffee, and no phone calls or web surfing. Just some downtime.
A place to relax, to think, to ruminate. I picked up the fork, took a small slice out of the confection in front of me, and this feeling of joy was amazing. The joy increased as the desert got ever smaller. I don’t think this is what Marie Kondo had in mind when she said pick things up and see if it brings you joy, but I’ll take it. And now that I know that picking up a fork, in a certain place, is sure to bring me joy, I believe a return trip in the very near future is a very real possibility. Return trips, if I have to be honest. In some things, a guy can’t have enough joy.
And what a colorful selection of deserts (macaroons!). I love the growing diversity in the population. You used to choose from pistachio, vanilla, orange, chocolate, almond. Now you can get mango flavored treats. And passion fruit. Joy, Joy, Joy!!!!
And, there’s this beautiful wall mural outside of this little corner of the world.
And a little dog park/patch right next to it (and I mean little, but it serves its function). Oh, the artist left his calling card.
Great comfort food, a nice day, beautiful wall art. A joyful morning indeed.
You never get tired of looking towards the city.
Last Saturday morning, I woke up shortly after the sun had awakened and Huntley Meadows, one of the local wildlife refuges, beckoned. There was only one thing that made me think that maybe, just maybe, I should stay in bed. The sky was overcast and the weather casters predicted about two inches of rain for the weekend. I was pretty sure I wanted to just go out, go for a short hike, and take some pictures. There was, however, something weighing on my mind. It was grey. It was dull. What pictures were there to take in such a day as this? In short, while I knew what I wanted to do, how will the reality of the on and off drizzle mesh with my idea of taking pictures of birds in spring? My heart said go ahead. My head asked why? How so?
Sometimes the head wins out. Sometimes the heart flutters too much and like the sweet smell of sampaguitas, the feeling envelops you, and the world feels new. Is new. The dawn of a new day. A little muted, perhaps, but alive with possibilities.
And so it was that three hours was spent walking around in the on and off sprinkles from the sky. And sometimes, the sun decided to tease a little warmth into the cool May morning. The heart may be a lonely hunter at times, but then again, it can only be so. For in the ups and downs and ups in life, we find our way to life lived, a life lived well.
How so? The answer is simple. Make it so. And here are the pictures to prove it.
The Cherry Blossoms Rush at the Tidal Basin in Washington is in full swing. Peak bloom is forecast for this weekend. I hope the flowers survive the wind storm forecast for this afternoon (40-50 mph wind gusts) and the snow(!?) on Saturday. Still, have at it, guys (and gals). Traffic will be horrible, so if you can, take the metro. The Smithsonian station is not far from where you want to go (art museum anyone?).
A beautiful morning to go to the wildlife refuge and look (and photograph) birds and other wildlife was in the offing on the last day of March, 2018. Unfortunately, errands must be run (life is not all for the birds after all). With camera in hand, the trip to the Department of Motor Vehicles was at least uninteresting. April, here we come.