Neighborhood Nomads
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Tag: snow day

Emerging from Hibernation

Photo by Kate Gallery, Neighborhood NomadsMarch 4, 2014, Washington, DC: You can hear a snow day before you see it. That busy city street out the bedroom window is still, too still, the moment you open your eyes. Something is off kilter and a peek through the blinds confirms it. It’s a weekday morning in the city and not a neighbor is in sight upon a hushed blanket of white.

But this morning those days are behind us. They must be. It is time. The neighborhood sounds different — the passing of tentative cars, the crackle of salt beneath heavy boots, a bird chirping and engines warming as the scraping begins. Washington is moving on. It is ready for St. Patrick’s Day and one more hour of daylight, for riding bicycles and Nationals’ Opening Day.

I feel disconnected from my Washington in winter. Cold days and early nights interfere with the way I interact with my surroundings. Instead of walking three short blocks to the Metro at Eastern Market, I get in the car out front and blast the heat. Instead of exploring new restaurants and visiting friends in other neighborhoods, we stay indoors or choose the closest place in sight. Our social scene slows to a crawl, the circle through which we move tightens to near suffocation. In the indoor exercise classes that replace outdoor runs and rides, I’m reminded that stillness can be more difficult than movement, on both our muscles and on our minds. This winter’s stillness has been excruciating.

But soon the ground will thaw and I won’t mind walking to the Metro or waiting for the bus. I might wander through the city without shivering, no specific destination planned. Not long now before those of us who have spent months hibernating will emerge back into the city and find it just how we left it, full of fascinating people and movement and life.

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Photo by Kate Gallery, Neighborhood Nomads

My First (Kinda) Real Neighborhood Snow

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December 10, 2013, Washington, DC: Snow day. Two small words that are just as exhilarating now as they were when we were kids. And this one was extra special because we hadn’t had one in full three years, perhaps since moving to Capitol Hill. We had no documentation of Barracks Row or Lincoln Park or Eastern Market blanketed in white, and the neighborhood’s under-three set — the group that  feels like the fastest growing segment of our local population — had never laid eyes on more than a dusting in their lives. The last time it snowed in earnest was the epic winter of 2010, when I took photos of Annapolis’ historic streets while living there for the year. This time, I vowed to crunch through the streets I’ve since grown to love to record my first real neighborhood snow.

To be honest, it wasn’t much of a snow day. In quintessential DC style, accumulation was a non-event and the sun was out by two, leaving a few malnourished, half-dirt snowmen melting fast in slushy grass. But having the day off was a godsend, and for a few moments this morning while the flakes were still coming down, I walked down Barracks Row taking photographs of a mildly white winter wonderland.

It wasn’t much, but it was still beautiful.

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