A City Goes Out For Recess


August 18, 2012, Washington, DC: The river was remarkably quiet Friday given the stunning weather. The beach volleyball courts between the Lincoln Memorial and the Kennedy Center were empty, the splash park in Georgetown enjoyed by only a happy few. The bike trail west along the canal was green and shaded and breezy, noticeably absent the usual hollers from cyclists announcing their presence. No one was in the way. It is recess in the city and not many people stick around to play.

This is the time of year that Congress declares August recess, signaling an annual ebb away from work that carries most people off on a late summer vacation. A few remain in town, meeting friends in a Capitol Hill coffee shop to discuss work left undone, like a farm bill or a budget, but they are the exceptions to the rule, stuck inside the detention of their heads. The rest are long gone. Cracking open a novel. Preparing a fresh lunch. Sending automated responses: Out of office.

I took advantage of the quiet yesterday to bike a wide circle around our city. I pedaled far up the Potomac on the Capitol Crescent trail, stopping to eat lemonade shave ice on a Bethesda street corner and resting at Norman's Farm Market just off the intersection of Beach Dr. and East West Highway. I rattled across rickety wooden bridges in Rock Creek Park and cut through the National Zoo uphill towards my favorite Adams Morgan deli. Under enormous trees nearby, I ate my bagel sandwich and enjoyed recess from a park bench in our giant urban playground.

Norman's Farm Market, Chevy Chase, MD, August 2012

Rock Creek Park, Washington, DC, August 2012

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