Day 5: June 19, 2013

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I knew this would happen. I knew that I would blink and this trip would be nearly gone. I can not believe that it is already Wednesday afternoon/evening. More than half of our week in Washington, D.C. is over, and instead of feeling glad as I probably would have a few days ago, I am really upset about it! This city is amazing in every way. The streets I felt so uncomfortable in mere days ago are now welcoming and, strangely, empowering. My morning walks to our ASU Washington D.C. center have turned into the best part of my day. I love being in the middle of such a bustling, energetic city. I love charging up and down the streets with a purpose.

Yesterday after I submitted Day 4′s blogpost, I felt too full of energy to stay in my room. This was unexpected, as I had felt pretty tired before! I decided to put my walking shoes on and head down to the National Mall. It was a little after 8 pm when I left, so it was just starting to get dark. I felt a little nervous walking the four or five blocks to the Mall but had nothing to fear; security guards and police circled the area since tourists are everywhere during the days and evenings.

The Vietnam Veterans Memorial has a profound way of making me feel so humble and quiet. I could spend forever just standing in front of those names. Perhaps it is the design of the memorial that does it – it is just perfectly reflective of the sadness and the grief that went into that war. To me, it represents the sadness and grief of all wars.

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I walked past the Constitution Garden Pond to and from the Memorial. The sun had long set before I got to the Mall but its light was still lingering, and the Washington Monument stood proudly against the sky in all her under-construction-but-still-stunning glory. Just as I left the Memorial and decided to head back to my dorm, I saw countless fireflies start drifting peacefully above the grass, dotting the lawn with light here and there, in perfect contrast to the increasingly darkening sky.

Otherworldly is not the word, magical is not the word. It was something out of a book or a movie. It was simply not real. It was indescribably perfect, breathtaking, and beautiful. Add the mournful component of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial within that and it was just too much to take in. My heart was so full; it was as though there were too many feelings to be felt by one person all at once.

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What with this mystical experience last night, it’s an incredible feat that I was able to focus in our meetings today. Our speakers were interesting and informative as they had been yesterday and the day before (an official blogpost on their thoughts and ideas will be coming soon!) For the last part of our afternoon today, our group took the D.C. Metro to the National Building Museum. I couldn’t take a lot of pictures, but my favorite part was when some of my group and I tried to build an arch using large squishy cubes!

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Tonight I am staying in the dorms, resting, writing, and reading. And eating. I’ve got the area down well enough to know where some food places are. And, you know, how to get to the National Mall and the White House.

Apparently a busload of kids are staying on this floor tonight, for some reason. I guess I have to continue to build my tolerance for running-down-the-halls-while-screaming antics for when I’m somehow working on ways to teach them what it means to be sustainable someday!

 

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