When walking beyond my apartment, down Wisconsin Avenue, the first thing I pass is the National Cathedral. I am wearing a long leather jacket, which I bought eight years ago from a down-the-block secondhand store when I first moved to DC. That was back when I lived in a tiny apartment at 18th & S, overlooking a gas station.
This leather jacket is maroon, which shiny gold-rimmed buttons. It feels kitschy on days when the Redskins are playing. There were no football games on today.
For the first time, I notice a graphic sign defining the neighborhood ahead of me. "Welcome to Glover Park," it proclaims, picturing a line-up of optimistic rowhouses.
I take a random swerve to the right at 35th Avenue, and snake my way past Federal-style houses, one after another, plus a few that have gingerbread detail and tempting porches. I discover an outpost of the Corcoran College of Art & Design, where I (in the downtown locale) taught a Writing 101 class. I pass the Duke Ellington magnet school for the arts, which features an oversize sculpture of a green deck chair on the lawn.
When 35th meets M Street--the heart of Georgetown--I look across the busy intersection, see the Key Bridge, and think...well, why the hell not. I walk out halfway and look out on the water, which is frocked with winter waves and the occasional bird.
The C&O Canal, which I've seen run with boats pulled by mules, is drained and trash-strewn on its bed. I dip down to it, then quickly veer away, back into the maze of storefronts I recall in their many incarnations. I remember where The Red Balloon used to be, where Commander Salamander used to be. Still, as I pass the narrow passageway that leads to Blues Alley, I am reassured that some things always stay in business. Stanley Jordan, the simple black & white marquee proclaims for the weekend.
Mental note of restaurants to try: Hook (for the oysters), Bistro LePic (for the wine), Surfside (for the fish tacos).
On the return loop, I examine a house lived in by George Washington's second-in-command. I wander a cemetery populated by headstones dating to the early 1800s.
I stop to look at the same "Glover Park" sign that marks the south end of the neighborhood. The credit is given to an artist named "Schwa." Really? I used to hear Schwa perform at the Tuesday open mics at Staccato, back in my Adams Morgan days.
5 miles. 2 hours. A quiet day. Love for my city.