Saturday, 14 March 2015

Winter walks within and Washington with Wings.

Happy March to all you lovely people. 
May you march to your tunes
Discover you:)

It has been a topsy turvy start of the month for me. I took time off from work for two reasons:

1) to have more energy and time for my daughter who will be flying the nest this fall and

2) to find out if I would do the things I always said I would if I had the time - like reading and writing and in the process discovering who I am and what is it that I really want to do. 

You may call this a mid-life crisis. I call it 'reflection'.

The first few weeks were fabulous. I attended a few morning workshops- geometry  and ceramics and even found myself relishing a piece of delicious chocolate cake at a coffee morning! 

I watched my daughter play basketball which was great.

But then March rolled by and I felt lost. I was lost in the jumble of all the things I wanted to do- read, write, garden, yoga, cook, clean, diet ...basically I wanted to do EVERYTHING perfectly, so I ended up doing NOTHING except gardening:) 

Living a free day (when I am not constantly checking the time) is testing me. I am becoming conscious of myself. Removing the tick-tock of timetables from half of my day is forcing me to listen to the 'dhuk-dhuk' of my soul. This change of gears from auto pilot to conscious living is not easy. It's thrilling but scary. It's so much easier to just turn the telly on or to stalk people on facebook, rather than peep inside myself to find out who I am. 

My vision of a 10 kg lighter me with an impeccable house and garden throwing garden parties for friends where I would wow them with my poetry or short stories has become another fridge magnet - wise words and ideas stuck in limbo WITHOUT action.

"You are not free until you have no need to impress anybody".

A friend put this up on her fb page. I inhaled the words deep into my core. If I inhale these words regularly, I might become them and then I can be free to do what I really want to do. 

My first steps towards this freedom make me slow down. I read and I read and I garden and I ignore lots of chores and duties. I feel safe in my go-slow-cocoon for now. 

No wonder men and women take sanyas or go wandering to discover themselves. I don't have that luxury. I can't pack my bags and go wandering. I have to find myself here - surrounded by my family, laundry, school runs, facebook, whatsap, blogs and dinners.

A yoga teacher once said that yoga is not about running away from your duties but finding yourself while performing them.

I am trying to do just that- 
at my pace
in my space.

Where is Washington and where are the wings? you ask...They're coming right up. Following my own advice of not trying to impress anybody- here goes - a mismatched post of discovering within and without.

This is Washington Do See (D.C.).

We happened to be in Washington D.C. for Christmas 2014. This was the first time our son actually wanted to visit a museum. 

The National Air and Space Museum was on his list and that was the only item on the list.

But before we fly, let's walk.

And before we walk, let's eat. If you ever visit Washington D.C., try out Brown Bag-

Hot oatmeal served with pecan nuts, sprinkled with chia seeds and honey and any other topping your heart desires followed by a farmer's breakfast of fluffy scrambled eggs and chunky home fries got us hooked. 
We ate there every morning:)

If you like walking- go to Washington. It's great. We walked everywhere - 
even in Thunder, Lightning and in Rain

Being jet lagged meant that we were up really early, so we ended up at the National Mall before anything was open.

Time to shoot!

As soon as the doors of the National Air and Space Museum opened, we entered and queued up for the guided tour. 
It was FANTASTIC. I would recommend it as a MUST DO if you go.
Our extremely knowledgeable 84 year old guide put the rest of us to shame. After about an hour and a half of walking and looking, some of us were trying to find perches to rest our feet while he carried on -enthusiastically sharing amazing anecdotes and details about what we were seeing.

I shot the wings like I shoot flowers- by colour. I have no idea about airplanes and their history, but if it felt right, I shot it.

The Eternal Question...

The following photo is of a mural which shows an exact moment of WWII. We were told that the wife of the pilot in this mural actually identified him when she visited the museum with her son!

Amelia Earhart flew this plane single handedly across the Atlantic.
It's the Vega monoplane, built by the Lockheed Company.

The next day, we walked from our hotel near the National Mall to Georgetown. It feels like a high street in an English town and I loved it. The Christmas lights were toned down and pretty.
The whole place had a small town vibe to it.

I met a very kind shop assistant in the Jack Wills store there who grew up a few blocks away- chatting with people in stores who are not just trying to push a sale but are nice to you always makes me smile.
Human stories turn destinations into memories.
 And he gave me tips on what to do locally that I wouldn't necessarily find in a guide book;)

 The teenagers kept sending me death threats telepathically when they saw this-

"How embarrassing Mum! Why did you have to talk to him?"

But, he's so cute;)

Oh! Yuck!!! Mum!

Another walk I would recommend is from the National Mall to Foggy Bottom - makes me giggle every time.
We walked to Kennedy Performing Arts Centre via Foggy Bottom -another historical neighbourhood which looks like it's been cut out of an English town and pasted here.
Quaint little houses with their quaint little gardens- sorry no pics as I was forbidden to stop and shoot on account of the cold winds.

Here are some shots from top of the Kennedy Centre. The wind was cccccold! 

Doesn't this sky remind you of the Simpsons?

We walked by the river to reach the National Mall. It was a BEAUTIFUL walk.

He scuttled down and climbed on my daughter's shoe. 
'Show me! Show me! How do  I look in that shot?'  he seemed to be saying.

'Yes, mum, this walk is super fun.'

Not everything I saw in Washington was happy and sunny. There were homeless people sleeping on pavements in that bitter cold. While we walked briskly towards our hotel and warm beds smothered in our goose down jackets, I saw groups of humans taking cardboard out of dumpsters to make their beds for the night on the cold grey concrete.

Then there was the van which stopped in front of us on Christmas Eve and started handing out blankets to the people who were making their cardboard beds.

BBQ smells greeted my husband and I as we stepped out of our hotel on Christmas Day to walk to Kennedy Centre for a free Jazz recital. The entire park near our hotel had been turned into a BBQ station for the homeless by a local charity. The park was a grey cloud- dark shapes carrying their homes around them had gathered there.

I walked past the park in my winter boots and warm hat towards the Jazz recital. The BBQ smell lingered  around me and made me hungry. I  noticed the grey humans but chose to continue with my holiday instead.

Yes, the sunny and the grey, the happy and the gloomy live side by side in Washington like in any other city of this world.

I choose to capture the sun and keep it with me. Maybe, I'm selfish. I am who I am.


March shines through my window today.
The tutu pink Hibiscus nods its head
 and opens its heart to receive the sun.