Tuesday, October 16, 2007
Tonight, I walked home in silence. Autumn’s chill had quieted the crickets, muted the frogs, even people’s voices on patios. The brick sidewalks were a pattern of gray and muted browns, and only the occasional passing car broke the silence: the tires-on-pavement long exhale of a solitary car passing by.
Brittle, drying leaves rustled in a gentle crisp breeze. I imagined winds blowing across the blue and white glaciers of Alaska, making their way along the jet stream and all the way across to Washington, D.C., where they rosied my cheeks and whispered of Eskimos and polar bears. Vintage chandeliers glowed from within bubble glass bay windows.
Shadowy Halloween characters in urban combat attire, one block up, floated across dim intersections. Muted laughter from pumpkined wrought-iron stoops wafted along swirling currents of crackling leaves. Terriers, finished with their last walks of the day, scurried with dog-nails onto glossed wood floors of sparkling warm row-houses.
Somewhere in the distance, far off, sirens wailed: a gentle warning of potential danger. A phone conversation drifted from an open window. A twig snapped under someone's show, half a block away. All were muffled by wind on leaves, sneakers padding on bricks, and sleepy mums in pots.
The sounds of Capitol Hill, in many ways, have probably been the same for two hundred years. The neighborhood, with its autumnal hush, is timeless.