I remember last February, nestled cozily in a condo in Keystone, CO, watching a CNN report on the winter storm in Washington DC. The correspondent stood in a snow-strewn field doubling as the surface of some giant pillow, uninterrupted by landmark or person except for a gnarled tree in the near distance. Twenty feet past the correspondent, there was nothing but white. She seemed to be somewhere on the outskirts of the District where, I fancied, American soldiers and yeoman of the past had once put their horses to graze.
Not quite. The correspondent’s name came up with her location: National Mall.
Snowmageddon. Snowpocalypse. The Frickin’ Freezing Federal Furlough. The blizzard went by a half dozen names, but residents here affect a bittersweet tone when talking about it, as if to say, “Everything was shut down, but the free time was great” or “it won’t be so bad this year, but just you wait…” There are hints among those who endured it that it has become a common badge of honor for the city’s denizens (who, in a city with Congress, Beltway politics, and the Redskins, have little examples of honor to point to).
In a city that could be paralyzed by a couple snowflakes, Button and I enter winter hopeful but a little anxious (always appropriate of the holiday season). There are enough things to stress over during the holidays that the prospect of frosty doom seems like overkill. But so far, the District (and our specific locale, Bethesda), have been light on the snowfall. It has spit a couple times but nothing Coloradoans would bother remarking on. What’s more, there’s no snow for Christmas, thus the title of this post.
So, despite it being frigid, Button and I are enjoying our tenuous mobility. Her Uncle David and cousin, Emily (visiting from Australia), made a visit almost two weeks ago. We ventured to the White House in order to see the National Tree in all of its lumpy, amoebic glory. Ringed with fifty plus smaller trees to symbolize the states and territories, the tree was lit up in the tradition of Clark Griswold. My opinion may be a bit tainted, of course, by the fact that below-freezing temperatures and a ferocious wind made it so I couldn’t move my face.
While I’m at work, Button has been acting as my exploration proxy, taking in the sights, getting a feel for our new city, and helping me get acquainted with all there is to do and see. On the docket: Library of Congress, U Street, museums, museums, and a Capitals game (I added that one). Last weekend, we celebrated friend Ruthie’s birthday with games and drinks. Button proved she’s a master at “spoons” and I, well, I was stuck with only consonants and a Y—the accursed sometimes vowel—for three turns in Scrabble (I lost).
So we’re quickly acclimating to our new locale while learning all the words beginning with Q but without a U (“FUN” FACT: a “qanat” is a water management system from pre-Islamic Iran used to provide a reliable supply to human settlements). I’m finishing this post on Christmas, so I’ll just say we’ve had a great holiday thus far, but I’ll leave the details for Natalie or a later post. Until then, I hope everyone has a merry Christmas and God bless!