reading dutch's triptych on the early morning after his son was born, (also, yay little gram!) i was thinking about my own quiet early mornings lately. in the past couple of months, we've had two 5am saturday cab rides to national. both times, though i wasn't thrilled at having to get in a cab at that ungodly hour - on a saturday, no less - and was also pretty annoyed that the cab company decided not to honor their promise to send a cabbie and left us to our own devices ... both times, i found the trip strangely soothing. there's something about seeing this city in darkness - and quiet, not just after dark, with the college hangers-on stumbling down my street after a long night of drinking. there's something so calming about the victorian facades, no steady wash of headlights running over the bricks - about the monuments lit, and knowing even from a distance that they aren't being swarmed by an unrelenting army of tourists. both of those flights i was going to national to catch at that ridiculous hour were to michigan, not for playful romps with nephews or wine festivals or for vacation. not for those things i love michigan for. the first was for christmas, where i knew i'd hug my brother for the last time until god knows when. the second, to spend the weekend in a cancer wing, reminiscing about college and ignoring the staples in jason's head.
but for the 20 minutes we spent basically alone on the roads of dc, silently gliding past the kennedy center, admiring the inky waters of the potomac, i felt calm and strong. this city has seen tragedy and joy that eclipse my spectrum of either emotion. on those mornings, i could almost feel the strength of this place as we passed the golden statues guarding the memorial bridge. i'm not sure what this year will bring, but i'm sure that a 5am cab ride 9 months from now will offer the same calm. i'm sure i'll stare out the window, allowing my forehead to rest on the cool, dank window, too tired to be concerned with how grimy it is, smiling slightly at the beauty of lincoln's memorial and the dignity of the kennedy center. i'm sure i'll find it comforting, and i'll know everything is going to be alright.