Thursday, August 25, 2005

In the morning ...

It was one of those mornings here in DC. The humidity has finally broken, and the skies are clear. Thank God for a northeasterly breeze that blew all the crud and smoke out of the air. The temperatures have moderated to about the mid 80 for a high. I decided to drive to work this morning -- I know, gas is almost $3.00 a gallon, and parking is not cheap and traffic sucks -- but I did it for a reason.

Okay, so the real reason was that my weight was up a little bit this morning and I didn't have time to work out before catching the train. But in the walk I took to assuage my guilt, I had a great time.

The Mall here in Washington is pretty and quiet before the Congressional types and all those counts and no-accounts who work in the city clog the streets on their way to whatever important work it is they are doing. And in the clear morning, with just a few people on the mall before the sun comes up, it's a great place to walk around.

The sunlight hits the Washington monument first, turning it a rosy-rusty kind of color. Especially this time of year. Then the orange light hits the windows of some of the buildings across the Potomac -- particularly the Gannett building where USA Today used to be headquartered. It turns the whole building into a glimmering sheet of flame. But the light is not so strong that it hurts your eyes.

It's the kind of morning that makes you want to call in sick. But no, we can't do that. So I decided to get in a walk as quickly as I could and still get to work on time. It was well worth the effort.

As I reached 14th street near the base of the Monument, I noticed the orange-yellow glow the sun was making on the Mall. The joggers had increased in number, and they were kicking up a little dust, so it made the beams of light even more pronounced. But it was breathtaking.

The light this time of year becomes almost surreal. As I walked toward the Capitol I was looking right into the sun. While it hurt my eyes a little, I didn't want to turn away from it because I couldn't help thinking "how many more of these do I get?"

Not to be maudlin, but I don't want to take life for granted. Four years ago, a bunch of people got on airplanes thinking on a morning similar to this and thought they would just go about their business and reach their destination. People took the Subway to lower Manhattan thinking it would be a normal day. We all know differently.

So I don't want to assume that gorgeous mornings are something I will have time to get to "someday." So I took a little down payment on someday today. And I'm glad I did.

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