100 Days of Thanksgiving: Day 6 – A Day of Firsts

So it seems I’ve really let this “100 days of thanksgiving” go by the wayside. There are many reasons for that – too many to really delve into for now – and I’ll explore those more fully later on.

Living in the DC area is really great. So much diversity, variety, and history. I’ve lived in the area for four years now, and I’m ashamed to admit that I’ve done nearly nothing to explore it. Cherry Blossom festival in 2010 (?), a Capitol tour in 2013, making snowman at the Mall in spring of 2014…wow I’m REALLY struggling to complete this list.

Anyway, I took the time after a long day of work – a local mission – to walk a little bit of the Custis/Mount Vernon Trails for the FIRST TIME. I thought about just walking the neighborhood to get some steps in – after all, I did sit most of the day – but decided the last minute that I’d take the Metro to Rosslyn and take the trails.

Seeing the traffic, buildings, the Potomac, etc., from a street perspective is always a bit jarring, a massive changeup from the windshield view I get on most days. You feel so much smaller, more vulnerable, and your senses are overloaded with cars whizzing by just over the curb. Runners and cyclists pass by with nary a stare at your direction, all so absorbed in the task at hand: burn calories. The smell of exhaust fumes do tickle your nose a bit; I bet it was so much worse a few decades ago.

Back to the trails. I’ve driven by the Roosevelt Island parking lot hundreds of times by now. This is the first time I actually reached it by any means of transport. The entrance to the trail is at the intersection of N Lynn St and the westbound exit ramp of  I-66. It’ll take you over the GW Parkway via a pedestrian bridge to the aforementioned parking lot, and from there you can take another bridge to Roosevelt Island.

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Georgetown and the Key Bridge from the Roosevelt Island pedestrian bridge.

This was my first time on Roosevelt Island. I didn’t go all the way around the small island. I saw a fork in the road and took it (har har). Actually, the one that led to the interior of the Island took me to the Theodore Roosevelt Island National Memorial, something I didn’t know existed. Out you come into a wide clearing that is dominated by a bronze statue of our Nation’s 26th prez and four huge stone monoliths with some of his quotes.

Teddy Roosevelt recognized me even from a distance.

Teddy Roosevelt recognized me even from a distance.

I’m ashamed to say that I knew none of them. Two large hemispherical fountains – bowls, really – flanked the statue, but they weren’t operational today. NHS cost-saving measures, maybe? Anyway, the Monument was an unexpected oasis in the midst of an urban jungle, its tranquility broken in only by my mental projection of operating water fountains and the jetliners crossing overhead on their way to DCA.

Teddy waved to the airplanes as well.

Teddy waved to the airplanes as well.

Rosslyn skyline at dusk.

Rosslyn skyline at dusk.

Fading sunlight and a growling stomached turned my focus back to my journey back to the urban jungle of Rosslyn. I took the route back to the Metro stop, boarded a moderately crowded rush hour train (Silver Line what!), and returned home. Well, almost. As the natural-gas cauldron of the ATR came into view, I realized to my horror that I had left my keys home. Roommate gone. Hungry. Oops. At least I had my wallet.

I grabbed a slice and a plastic bottle of Perrier. Then I walked over to the B&N to wait out the storm (lockout) until my knight in a silver Saturn (roommate) could come rescue me. Meanwhile, I picked up a copy of Malcolm Gladwell’s latest book, David and Goliath, and FLEW through about 60 pages in about an hour. Very interesting book…will pick up a digital copy soon. Found out a very interesting speculation about Goaliath’s imposing physical state, but I’ll roll that into another post soon.

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