Today, as well, began with travel. We drove from outside Philly to the Maryland Transit Authority train’s terminus, and took it all the way into Union Station. Of course, it started out with just a few families, but as we went through Baltimore, BWI, the suburbs, the number of passengers kept growing. By the time we pulled in, the train was full, and it was through no small effort that we squeezed ourselves into the District.
The first sight at Union Station was a sight that would be repeated throughout the day: the crowd. People from all over this country standing in front of Metro machines, befuddledly figuring out the payment system, while at the same time orienting themselves in a city many had never seen before. And this was the morning.
As the day wore on, ore and more people flowed into the city, joining the hundreds of thousands who already live here or came early. Every street corner in the Federal Triangle was packed, every line wrapped along the block (most notably, the lines to get into the offices of Congresspeople and Senators both, as new arrivals frantically scrambled to get their hands on a precious few “silver” tickets– I, luckily enough, managed to come into some tickets from Senator Bingaman’s office that had not yet been claimed).
After lunch, we made the foolish choice of taking the Metro back up to DuPont Circle, and as soon as we descended into the South Capital station we were sucked into a morass of penguin-stepping humanity. We had been joking all day about how every media outlet had spent the past week talking about how awful and crowded the Metro was going to be, and how we couldn’t imagine who would actually dare brave it. The answer to that question, was a whole shit load of people.
Even walking back to my cousins house, off of U Street, from DuPont, I was struck by just how many people there were. These were quiet, residential neighborhoods we were walking through, but still a constant stream up and down every street.
And the best part about it, is just how ecstatic everyone is.
All day long, it’s been nothing but smiles and sunshine to counteract the gloomy weather and shadow of the past. Everyone is holding doors for each other, dropping into conversations like it’s a family reunion– black or white, doesn’t really matter (and yes, the crowd is predominantly black [at least so far], 60-70% at least. But then again, it is D.C., and then again, this is the moment of redemption– or at least something like it, from an outsiders view).
The District has grown jubilant, ebullient, it’s difficult to aside from to say that something warm has taken root in the gut of every person here, and that thing will flower come noon on the 20th. It is expectant, it is victorious, it is pacific and plantive, and it is, above all, an excuse for a party.
And so the time is drawing near. Change, then– the metamorphosis, even– is waiting to take hold of us, and flourish an unparalleled abundance. But goddamn is there a lot that needs to get done before we find that place.