Tuesday, June 21, 2016
A Walk in the Park
My summer commute is turning out to be rather pleasant. I start the morning - albeit at a truly ungodly hour - strolling down Our Little Condo's driveway, where one day recently I ran into this unexpected neighbor. She really oughtn't be there, for the area bordering the building is less a real forest than a narrow copse, but she seems to have set up housekeeping there, complete with a fawn who's just off camera.
Our Nation's Capital is in the throes of what is promising to be long-term Transit Hell, but for me that has proved a little bit of a boon, for as a result of swearing off the Metro, I've discovered that in order to get between OLC and the back offices of Golden Handcuffs Consulting International Amalgamated where I spend my days, it's far more efficient, and more pleasant for that matter, to take the bus. Two, actually, but the transfer is relatively painless.
Today, I had plenty of time to spare before an early morning meeting, so I took a more roundabout bus than usual for the second leg and got off early, just so I could walk across and along the Mall on my way. I don't really like the city much, as I believe I've made clear before, but the National Mall is really a treasure.
Sometimes, to paraphrase the late Herr Doktor Freud, a monument is just a monument.
I don't know about you, but ever since that earthquake a few years ago, I just can't imagine going up this potential falling object.
The next thing one runs across is the rather woeful World War II Memorial, an I suppose well-intentioned enough edifice that falls prey to one of my pet peeves in the world today - something endemic across the Smithsonian, for that matter: a kind of petty, literal didacticism that means that every single element has to have not only a Grave Symbolic Meaning, but the most banal and literal one that one could imagine.
On top of that, it's also designed in a wan and half-hearted sort of neoclassical mish-mash - and one that has the signal lack-of-virtue of also appearing to be a kind of dull tribute to the work of Albert Speer, which certainly doesn't help. I suppose, though, in its way that at least that aspect is fitting, for it's a product of the Bush era. What is Bushism (Cheneyism, really, but he'll never get all the dubious credit he's due) but a kind of lazy man's Fascism, no?
At the heart, as it were, of the Memorial is a large and over-elaborate water feature, of the kind that might give the unwary passer-by the impression that Miss Esther Williams is about to emerge from its depths. At least on a June Tuesday morning, however, no such luck.
This morning's walk ended as my earlier one this week began, with yet another fauna sighting. This spruce gentleman was certainly more at home in his environment that I fear that doe will prove to be in our little glen. I know they're really just rats with a better outfit or pigeons with fur tails, but goodness the Mall's squirrels - especially the rather exotic black ones (who seem to be shade camera-shy, on the whole) - are charming.
And so on to the office, where I had to give a heartening little speech about recruitment to a group of colleagues who are convinced that they are about to be rendered obselete by our recruitees. What made it just a tad more challenging than it might have been is that, truth to tell, they're not far wrong. But that's a story for another day - possibly one less suited for long morning walks...