The Beat of the City Arrives: Washington, D.C. – Day Two – Georgetown

The beat of the city arrives…

Ambulance sirens race down the street.

The pitter-patter, clomp-clomp of busy and important steps hitting the pavement.

Street musicians showcase their talents, providing a harmony for the chaos.

-Luke A. Bunker

I was compelled to write the above poem after exiting the Foggy Bottom-GWU Metro Station, hyper-sensitive to the sights and sounds around me.  There was a slight chill to the air, with sirens racing down the street and an older male musician pounding away at his keyboard as if it was his true calling in life.  As I alluded to in a previous post, I hopped on the Metro last Friday morning with no set itinerary for the day (perhaps the aforementioned hypersensitivity was due to a mind not clogged by schedules and “things to do”?), save for lunch with my aunt on the Hill sometime in the afternoon.  Aside from that, the day was mine, and I knew about halfway through my Metro ride where I would begin.

Cupcakes for life • Baked & Wired in Georgetown provides a more quirky cupcake experience than most cupcakeries (is that a word now??) in the city.

“Texas Sheetcake” • Cupcakes for life:  Baked & Wired in Georgetown provides a more quirky and intimate experience than most cupcakeries (is that a word now??) in the city.

When I was last in D.C. in August 2013, my cousin and I spent a morning similar to how I spent it last Friday – exit GWU Metro and make the short walk to Baked & Wired in Georgetown while admiring the beautiful homes and architecture.  Although the activities were similar, the journey was different.  As I settled in with my ham & gruyere quiche and iced mocha, I reflected on the pages of my Moleskine of how taking a different path with a receptive mind left me further open to experiencing the truth of life in Washington, D.C.

"Seek Truth and Pursue It Steadily" • This quote, on GWU's campus, helped put me in an open mindset, receptive to the familiar, yet unfamiliar, world around me.

“Seek Truth and Pursue It Steadily” • This quote, on GWU’s campus, helped put me in an open mindset, receptive to the familiar, yet unfamiliar, world around me.

I opted for savory instead of sweet...  Well, kind of.  You can't beat the beautiful combination of chocolate and coffee!

I opted for savory instead of sweet… Well, kind of. You can’t beat the beautiful combination of chocolate and coffee!

For, you see, on this particular morning, I took a perhaps less glamorous journey to Georgetown.  Instead of walking Pennsylvania, I took K and the Whitehurst Freeway.  I say less glamorous because it was on this walk where it struck me that there is absolutely nothing romantic about homelessness.  I don’t know if “romantic” is the right word, but when you can see (and, in reality, smell) the situation, you realize that it’s a real problem – not always a choice for those people – and one that we prefer to ignore than do anything about.

As I picked “pesky” down feathers from my $200 jacket while toting around $1000 in camera equipment and preparing to spend $10 on coffee and a small slice of quiche, having traveled via air to a city for the sole purpose of visiting a travel show, I’d be lying if I said I didn’t feel even just a twinge of guilt.  But, at the same time as I saw the inequities of society (how had these people gotten to this place?  what events had transpired in their lives where a shopping cart full of cans, no showers for days or weeks, and despair evident on their faces, was the life these people now led?), the presence of blessings in my own life became abundantly clear.  Sometimes it takes seeing this aspect of humanity – one that is largely ignored and is surrounded by a gargantuan taboo – to realize gratitude for how well a person does, indeed, have it.

A portion of the "Baked Wall" at Baked & Wired in Georgetown.

A portion of the “Baked Wall” at Baked & Wired in Georgetown.

With this newfound perspective fresh in my mind, I posted my poem on the Baked Wall (a wall where patrons’ doodles, writings and thoughts are drawn onto napkins and taped) and set out on a photo journey with my Hipstamatic and architecture, along with capturing a not-often-seen Washington, in my sights.

Look twice - that's a statue of a dog with a tie around it's neck!  Too funny.

Look twice – that’s a statue of a dog with a tie around it’s neck! Too funny.

IMG_3099

Rose Park Playground:  Rose Park is sandwiched between the back of Georgetown and the overhang of Rock Creek Parkway.  It is here where I saw a part of D.C. life I'd previously not seen - the normal day-to-day life of nannies with young ones swinging and playing the morning away...

Rose Park Playground: Rose Park is sandwiched between the back of Georgetown and the overhang above Rock Creek Parkway. It is here where I saw a part of D.C. life I’d previously not seen – the normal day-to-day life of nannies with young ones swinging and playing the morning away…

Sharing is Caring

“Sharing is Caring”

"Canal Bike" • Green is my favorite color, so between that and the composition, I had to take this photo.

“Canal Bike” • Green is my favorite color, so between that and the composition, I had to take this photo.

Has Hell frozen over?  Well, maybe not...but the C&O Canal has.

Has Hell frozen over? Well, maybe not…but the C&O Canal had a thin layer of ice on the morning I walked by.

"Woman in Red" • This is one of my favorite little streets to photography.  The building fronts, the American flag, the always-interesting people, and the canalside brick sidewalk are just too lovely to pass up.

“Woman in Red” • This is one of my favorite little streets to photograph. The building fronts, the American flag, the always-interesting people, and the canalside brick sidewalk are just too lovely to pass up.

"Brick, Shutters & Iron Fences, Oh My!"

“Brick, Shutters & Iron Fences, Oh My!”

"Rose Park Walker"

“Rose Park Walker”

"Rose Park Robin"

“Rose Park Robin”

Stay tuned for more from my recent trip to Washington, D.C., including more pictures from my first day of the Capitol and Supreme Court buildings, as well as my fun museum mix-up!

“What do you see, Luke Bunker?”

Day 6/31

Today’s prompt was supposed to be “My five senses right now,” but I really didn’t care for that as I’m only sitting here at my dining room table, having just finished a Harry & David Royal Riviera Pear, listening to Rascal Flatts & the GoT Soundtrack (weird combo, I know – see previous post), smelling nothing and writing at my laptop off my iPhone’s portable hotspot because the Internet is down (= grumpy, GRUMPY Luke) and, as such, my normal writing space is not usable right now.  Whew!  So, anyway…  I didn’t care for the prompt (which I guess I sort of just answered), so I decided to reshare a poem I wrote in a creative writing class at college, inspired by Walt Whitman’s poem, “Salut au Monde!” and answer one of the following prompts – “What do you hear?” or “What do you see?”

Sacre Coeur Bell Tower

Sacre Coeur Bell Tower

“What do you see, Luke Bunker?”

What do you see, Luke Bunker?
I see the proud displays of chocolate-makers throughout the city.
I smell the dank and dirt of a place where being clean seems to be an afterthought.
I feel the intensity of sun rays beating on my weary body.
I hear the chatter of men and women going on about their daily lives.
I taste the world’s worst and most expensive coffee in a place where it feels just right.
I am alive in this moment.