Guiding: Wet But Still Wonderful

Like many parts of the nation, we have had our share of rain (and more) the past few weeks.

There was a nine-day stretch where the sun seemed on vacation from the skies.

So wet, the bus driver needed an umbrella.

We can echo that from the standpoint of rain it’s been one of the wettest ever.

Because the Potomac River bisects the area and the Tidal Basin scoops up some of the river water twice daily, the area is scattered with piles of driftwood as the perpetual flooding fills the river from west and north.

If it’s not too windy and cold though, count me in as a wet weather walker.

The crowds thin or disappear completely making getting around the city a relative breeze.

Many of the sites take on a special grandeur as normally dull surfaces have a sheen or sparkle.

Arlington National Cemetery is beautiful in any weather, and yesterday’s rain saw business (mostly) as usual at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldiers.

The Corporal does the Change.

Rain means an abbreviated or skipped rifle inspection during the changing of the guard and a quick uniform inspection, as well.

If you blinked, you missed it.

And the Sergeant was nowhere to be seen at the change, on leave or taking a pass?

The Wall at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial gets a bad rap, I think, both at night and in the rain.

A sea of letters.

Those conditions render the names unreadable but preserve a sea of individual letters, millions of them, a sign of the chaos and indiscriminate nature of death in battle.

My group included a brilliant young lady in a motorized wheelchair, and as we arrived at the many-stepped Lincoln Memorial, a classmate asked me, “How will Gracie get up there?”

It was a question both kind and relevant as far from the first time this season, the only elevator was once again out-of-service.

Mr. Lincoln

It is an inexplicable situation at one of our most cherished national sites.

In the end, her mother carried her up the stairs, but what about the thousands of Honor Flight veterans now unable to climb the stairs?

The Korean War Veteran’s Memorial is known for being compelling at night because of the haunted and gaunt faces of the soldiers on patrol.

On Patrol

Rain accentuates the ghostly aspect as they emerge from the middle distance, drenched, wary and forever on the move.

The Eternal Flame at JFK’s Tomb was burning brightly, causing my ponchoed fifth-graders to be amazed that it didn’t go out in the storm.

(Some school groups bring a police officer with them to DC but no one brings an umbrella, an odd sort of risk assessment as the common cold is the most likely crime here.)

The rain is a pleasant reminder to take life as we find it and see the beauty everywhere.






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