Updated: Feb 19, 2020
DC is one of those places which, regardless of how many times you've visited, makes you think "Wow, now this is a city." It's a city full of culture, history, great food, and for the frugal (like myself), plenty of free stuff to do and see. It is a city that never sleeps. Early in the morning as the fog is rolls off the Potomac and Anacostia Rivers, the dedicated make their way to work. Late in the afternoon as the sun sets over the Tidal Basin, the dedicated make their way back home. They walk, they drive, they carpool, they subway, they train their way back to their personal sanctuaries.
After their lights go out, their head hits the pillow and their eyes shut, the city stays awake.
But that's a story for another time.
In my most recent journey to DC, I wandered. After a celebratory lunch at Acqua Al 2 in Washington's immaculate Capitol Hill neighborhood, my feet carried me towards the Library of Congress. Compared to my previous visit, the compound was empty, making it easy to isolate other wandering travelers in my viewfinder. The architecture, the history, the age of it all is overwhelming.
So overwhelming that I continued my walk out of the library and down Capitol Hill towards the National Mall. But let's PAUSE real quick and take a look at a word/name that we use often: National Mall. What does it mean? Why is it called a mall? Am I missing something---where are the shops? If you've asked yourself these questions, rest assured, I have a simple answer tied to our early heritage. The name "National Mall" was an attempt to mimic "The Mall in London" which peaked in the 1700s as a promenade where the elites could mingle with other well-to-dos. Ok, press PLAY again---I continued my walk down the hill.
Despite my well-insulated puffer jacket, the cold began to bite. So, I headed towards the one place I knew would be overly warm---the United States Botanic Garden. Contrary to the way the cold hit me when I walked out of the Library of Congress, the humidity of the Tropic garden gently caressed my face and lured me deeper into the garden. By the time I exited the garden, sweat was dripping from my chin.
Thoroughly defrosted, I returned to the cold and headed home.
As fate would have it, my day was over but the roll was not. I had 18 frames waiting to be exposed. I slept uneasy with that knowledge.
The next morning, I awoke and headed into another city to close out the roll. The city was Baltimore, and unlike DC, Baltimore sleeps---even in broad daylight.
People were few and far between.
Even the birds---all except for one---took the day off as well.
I wasn't sure if this was a sign of a dying community or a city on the cusp of rebirth. We'll have to wait and see.
There was something indescribably beautiful about the deserted streets. It allowed me to appreciate the city for what it once was and what it could be, and more importantly, allowed me some much needed time to myself.
To contemplate the little things.
To see myself differently.
To take in the shapes and lines we've created and as a species, deemed as beautifully essential.
To observe others.
To listen to the beautiful symphony of silence.
To know Baltimore.
Camera: Canon EOS Rebel
Film: Kodak TMAX 100
When: November 2019
Where: Washington, DC + Baltimore, MD