Sunday, May 04, 2008

Our Nation's Capital

I think, for the most part, Americans take living in America for granted. This was especially clear to me last weekend as we toured Washington, D.C. Even though we used to live in the area, I had forgotten how diverse the population in D.C. at any given moment can be - how varied the economic backgrounds, the skin tones, the languages spoken, the religions practiced - of all of the people who come to our capital to take in the sights.

I watched as tourists snapped photos of the monuments, school children poured off of buses into museums, and commuters read newspapers on the subway on their way to work. I felt an incredible sense of - well, pride - as hundreds of truckers held a rally, blaring their horns in protest of high gas prices. How honored I felt to be a part of a country where such demonstrations are allowed, even encouraged. Our daughter was very much on my mind as I stood in front of the White House, thinking of China and its seeming rigidity, of how lucky I am, and of how much I look forward to sharing America with our child.

After 13 years of being away, I felt a little trepidation on the flight back to D.C. I missed it terribly when we left, and it took years for me to start to appreciate the stark beauty of the Arizona desert. So, I was quite relieved when I got there and it felt a little bit like seeing an old boyfriend after many years of no contact. There's always that tiny still smoldering spark, but at the end of the day, you're glad you let them get away. I've grown to love the relaxed pace of the desert, the way the light falls at sunset, the ocotillos in bloom. And, while the city continues to beckon softly, I think of it now like a dear old friend I'd like to see again sometime.

There's nothing quite like springtime in bloom, though - here's a few photos of our trip:

These tulips were growing in a park.

This orchid was in the National Botanical Garden.

Believe it or not, these are regular metal and white paper clothes hangers - used as art. This exhibit was in the Hirschorn Museum, which houses an incredible collection of modern art.