There is something comfortable about waking up early to go somewhere by yourself. Not that it feels good to wake up at all, but once you’re up and you’re getting ready, it feels good, like a clock that has started ticking and the pendulum is slowly gaining momentum. Once there is a cup of tea in you, all is well, and if there are cherry blossoms waiting later, it’s even better.
It was a shame about the forgotten half a bagel though, you lamen later on the metro to a friend. But you have two apples, a large bag of cookies, half a peanut butter sandwich and four lemon crème cookies all to yourself for later though. All stowed in a striped pink Victoria’s Secret bag because it was just the right size (yes the bag checker at the Smithsonian will probably assume something different about its contents, but that will keep him from calling you out for having food in your backpack).
But before blossoms comes metro metro metro. For a thing called a Smart Card it takes quite a bit of brain power to get it to work. Thank you, machine for accepting dollar coins and not suspecting they were arcade tokens even though they look like it. And thanks should also be given for friends with itineraries on their smartphones and still being able to run in a sweater dress and boots.
After a huddle of embassies, the domed forehead of the Orthodox Church appears. It’s amazing how one’s confidence shrinks under the eyes of iconography and the breath of incense. Or maybe that’s called humility; a needed dose of reverence. Lord Have Mercy, Grant It, Oh Lord.
The D3 Bus does not run on Sundays, and you will miss the D6 bus by ten minutes if you attend the service till the end, which you should do so that you don’t miss a tiny old Russian lady standing on her tiptoes to venerate the cross with a kiss. Fortunately, waiting for the bus will give you a chance to eat one of your apples, and see a woman walking her three Chinese Sharpeis up the sidewalk.
It is perfectly possible to have a lovely time going to and from somewhere without speaking very much. Maybe you only say a few things like, “I think we missed our stop” and “Well, let’s just ride till the end and then come back on the green line.” And you will think that being a little discombobbled wasn’t such a big thing, when on your metro ride to L’Enfant Plaza a man with his bicycle looks at his phone, realizes he has forgotten something and loudly complains. You can sympathize. Maybe he’ll have to ride the green line back too.
If you walk directly toward the Museum of the American Indian, you will not reach the Washington Monument. Also, large pointed objects in the distance are not as a close as they appear. You wonder how anyone ever found anyone before cellphones. If there is a cherry blossom festival, you suspect the only options would be megaphones and large posterboard signs.
The satisfaction of finally reaching your destination brings other things to mind as well. Such as how you should have just embraced the humility bestowed by the eyes of the icons and asked where the bathroom was at the Orthodox Church. Because now you really need one, and all there is nearby are porta-potties blessed with the butts of the masses. Lord Have Mercy.
Though crowds can be bothersome, the nice thing about having swarms of people about is that you can sprawl out on the grass with your shawarma from the Lebanese food truck without anyone thinking less of you. There is nowhere else to sit. Who cares if you may be reclining on a cigarette butt. You may come to the thought that Lebanese shawarma will be at the Marriage Supper of the Lamb. If not you will put in a request. Lord Have Mercy, Grant it, Oh Lord.
While walking toward the Lincoln Memorial you will be unimpressed by the lack of ducks and impressed by the amount of change in the reflection pool. Maybe the government should look into Reflection Pool Wishes as a source of income toward paying of the deficit.
The best part of the Lincoln Memorial is the right side where you can sit halfway in sun and halfway in the shade of the towering columns and look out at the Potomac and the giant golden statues that guard the bridge there. Maybe you’ll put on a little sunscreen and talk about how the bees are dying and why isn’t anyone worried about that?
The cherry blossoms themselves will be hard to track down, until the sounds of Japanese choral music fills the air and you step into the midst of a cultural celebration. The late spring has caused the blooming to come slowly, so what should be a peak show of flowers is only the beginnings of potentiality. Kind of like your progress in learning Korean. But at least you know enough to understand the 엄마… 이거…이거? of a little preschooler in the Korean exhibit at the Museum of Natural History and to eavesdrop on her mother’s explanation of King Sejong the Great. You will also learn in the museum that it costs a lot of money to see butterflies and that compared to the diadem that Napoleon gave to his wife, the Hope Diamond isn’t all that.
At the end of the day you will feel like Raggedy Ann and suspect that if you don’t get an iced coffee in the next half hour you just may flop to the ground like a sad old toy. Lord Have Mercy. Dinner at Five Guys may upgrade your spaghetti legs to al dente, but you will still take the time to drive around the block twice to find the entrance to McDonalds for a frappacino. You are aware of how ridiculously American that is. But you don’t mind, since caffeine turns being stuck in traffic into extra time to listen to music with your sister. And so even if the Cherry Blossom Adventure didn’t turn out to be about cherry blossoms, you’d welcome more adventures like it. Grant it, Oh Lord.