Thursday, March 22, 2007

Spring is Officially Here

My husband is coming home from Australia today. I do not envy him. He has made the round trip in less than a week. That's hard on bodies that are no longer young.

He reminded me of the worst part of flying trans-Pacific; after you have a meal, a movie, and a nap, you wake up and look at the moving map on the overhead, and it says "Arrival in 16h 30m."


Have I mentioned that I have the grandest commute in the universe?

I leave my house and immediately turn north on the George Washington National Parkway, a road that goes along the Potomac from near Chevy Chase all the way down to Mount Vernon, George and Martha's crib.

It is a National Park, so your speed is monitored by the US Park Police. It is also lovely. The Lyndon and Lady Bird Johnson Memorial Groves and Parks and all (I guess it ain't quite memorial for Miss Bird, since she is still kicking..). It is lovely and very well kept.

On the lower portion, near my house, the riverbanks are naturalized with daffodils, and weeping willows casually line the shore. As you drive up, the sun is rising over the Capitol, the Library of Congress, the Washington Monument, the Jefferson Memorial, and this time of year, the cherry trees blossoming around the Tidal Basin (otherwise famous for Wilbur Mills driving into it with Fanne Foxe). The early morning light turns all the stones at Arlington Cemetery a pale coral.

On the upper portion, the road follows a bluff alongside the river, and the river changes.

Down my way, it's broad and sluggish, and deep enough for small ocean-going vessels to come up as far as the Orinoco Street Wharf. But north of the Memorial Bridge, the entrance to Arlington Cemetery, the river narrows, in a little gorge, with rocks causing rapids. The high school and college crews are often rowing in that portion of the river, going from the boathouse in Georgetown down to the boathouse in Alexandria, always going downstream for some reason. I never see them trying to row against the tide.

I leave the parkway at Spout Run, a rocky little tributary with a tiny waterfall that I can see as I take the turn west to go to Fairfax. When it is raining, the tiny waterfall turns into a small raging torrent, rather like a ferocious kitten.

This morning as I drove up, I noticed that the daffodils were beginning to bloom, the willows were soft spring green and the maples were budding red. All this in the week since my husband left. His flight was delayed a day because of a sleet storm last weekend.

He'll be pleased to return tonight.

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