Updated with captions/commentary
One of the consequences of my career choice is that I tend to spend a lot of time away from home. Many of my co-workers who suffer from the same condition like to spend their free time and money while they are on the road on alcohol and public buffoonery. There is an all too common mentality among them that holds the rules don’t apply when away from home, and that it’s okay to indulge as long as word doesn’t get back home. I’ve never subscribed to this form of thinking, and as a result I tend to spend my extra time alone hiking trails, visiting parks, and generally trying to get the most out of whatever opportunities the local environment has to offer without burning my bank account and being able to look my wife and kids in the eye when I get home. In Hawaii, I drove the coast and hiked up the ridge that divides the northern and southern halves of Oahu while the others watched bikinis in Waikiki through the lens of a half-empty cocktail. In Germany, I drove through the countryside in Bavaria to visit Dachau and other WWII sites while others got so drunk in the beer halls that they weren’t likely to remember much about the evening when they sobered up. It always seems that, regardless of where I go, there is plenty to do that is interesting and entertaining.
At present, I’m stuck in DC for an extended stay. If there is anywhere in the world with a rich array of interesting and mostly free stuff to see and do, DC is it. I think I could spend a full day at each of the Smithsonian museums without even beginning to lose interest. Then there’s the monuments, other museums, civil war battlefields, architecture, Mount Vernon, Monticello, and numerous other places… As many times as I’ve been here, I’ve never run short of things to go and do (with the exception of snowmageddon when EVERYTHING was shut down and I had no choice but to sit in my hotel room and do nothing). While I generally detest working here, and have great issues with the general pace of life, high cost, and types of behaviors considered “normal” here, I do appreciate the area for it’s historical and other tourist attractions.
One thing I’ve found is that the best time to visit any of the outdoor attractions is early in the morning before the museums open. The sun isn’t as hot, and you’re much more likely to get a good look and time to ponder without having to push through crowds. Each of the following photographs were taken yesterday morning as I wandered the National Mall waiting for the museums to open. Each has meaning that would require explanation, and at the moment, I haven’t time to do justice to my thoughts. So, for now, I offer them up for your enjoyment without sharing my probably unwanted observations…