A little enforced replanting for a few days reminds me that I can thrive in new soil.
That said, there are things I'll miss about this place:
- The doe that lives in the thin strip of greensward between Van Dorn Avenue and Rt 395, an urban and heavily trafficked environ. Nature overcomes human predation somehow. The doe wanders back and forth amid the trees, seemingly placid in spite of it all.
- The cluster of parents in the neighborhood seeing their children on to the bus. Two women in niqab, three in saris, one in shalwar kalmeez, two guys in loose basketball shorts and Redskins t-shirts, a woman in extraordinarily tight jeans and a Be-Dazzled t-shirt that says "I'm a sexy bitch." All smiling, all waving at their children on the bus as it pulls away.
- The Smithsonian Folk Festival each July. Nothing since has equaled the Silk Road year (Tuvan throat-singers! Yo-yo Ma!), but there is always something interesting to see (who knew that fishing for eels is a big industry in Ireland?) and the people-watching is almost as wonderful as the exhibits and music.
- Finding out that your neighbor can't tell you what he does in his job. If he told you, he'd have to kill you. But he'll never tell you. Seriously.
- Meeting people who think big, about all sorts of things. Even if I don't agree with what they think, they stretch my brain in new ways.
- Traffic. The Beltway is the deepest circle of Hell. Rt 95 and 395 are tests of Christian forbearance...I fail miserably on a regular basis.
- Excessive focus on what you do for a living as a measure of status. I can remember one dinner party where I was pretty much ignored by the hostess (wife of a person with whom I had a business relationship) until she learned what my pay grade was (how things are measured in Your Nation's Capital), then decided I was worthy of her attention. SES (Senior Executive Service) is more prestigious, it seems, than the GS grades. Not that I really wanted much of her attention, but that really is the way of things more often than it should be.
- High, high cost of living. Not quite San Francisco, not quite NYC, but pretty damned high, particularly housing. For those who do the manual labor in this town, this means they live out a ways and endure long commutes on public transportation, which is not always as reliable as it should be. For those of us who don't make megabucks, you have to make some very strategic choices to live as you think you should.
- Hard place to raise kids. Mine are mostly grown now, but I cannot tell you the number of times that I've heard about cliques, "mean girls," overwhelming pressure for kids to get into the best colleges, a lot of pressure re sex and drugs in schools both poor and rich. On this side of the Potomac, a large number of kids get a fancy car when they get their license. Across the river, kids struggle to avoid getting drawn into gang/drug/gun trouble. Many don't succeed. Something is very wrong here.
I pray I find the humus beneath my feet, grow new roots, and thrive. And I am grateful for this week of respite and rejoicing. Necessary preparation of the soil, I'd say.