That’s the first day of Spring, for those of you who didn’t have to take astronomy to fulfill science credits (they really don’t like it when you call the class astrology for the better part of the semester).
After a very snowy weekend in PA, where they don’t plow major highways and you must rely on clearly intoxicated locals to lay down cinder (a word I haven’t heard since playing Killer Instinct back in the day), it’s absolutely gorgeous out again.
Gorgeous enough to run around late at night.
I left my stuff at the gym and headed whichever way the walk sign told me I could go. After a while in the posh hotel areas of the city and sprinting through garbage alleys with the truck right behind me, I headed south past GW in search of Lincoln. I haven’t gone running on the mall at night yet, and even worse I haven’t paid Abraham a visit since moving into the city in August.
The anxiety of low ceilings and mirrors and a small army of other people watching you run is replaced by solitary solidarity with the few other runners you encounter, the stale air and flourescent lighting traded for a moon and moist air, the ephemeral pundits everyone hates DC for replaced by the timeless monuments everyone loves DC for.
I can’t find a way across the highway so I sprint across, the adrenaline wrapping me quickly around the backside of Lincoln Circle. I start to cross the bridge and stop to lean over the edge and feel the cool wind.
I come around to the front of the monument and bound up the steps, my racing heart’s beating sustained at the top by the lively buzz tourists take on at night.
Inscriptions on the wall speak of bringing only peace and goodwill to other nations, of caring for our war orphans and widows. I can see the Capitol from here.
A small sign requests respectful silence, but it’s ignored by commercial jets flying directly overhead. Peace is found again as I bound back down the final steps, sailing off each set with more air than the last, solace returned as I hit the dirt path next to the reflecting pool.
The WWII monument creeps up, too ornate between the austere Lincoln and stark obelisk, its lighting dull yellow rather than crisp white, its wreaths and inscriptions too many and too busy for this night.
I turn north and the trees and water return me, a single tourbus waits for its last two passengers, a close to an alive but serene night.