sprite writes
broodings from the burrow

November 19, 2018


epic fail
posted by soe 1:52 am

I intended to spend this afternoon bicycling over to the Deanwood, a neighborhood on the other side of the Anacostia that’s home to an award-winning branch library. I had an entire game plan that started with a pop-up Christmas shop across town, progressed to a once-a-week coffee shop at one of the rec centers, and stopped at the library. I was then going to come back home via the Kenilworth Aquatic Garden (where in the summer they apparently have amazing water lilies) and the new community coffee shop by Union Market. There were contingency options built in for not getting as early a start (skipping the pop-ups) and for not wanting to bike as far, including taking a bikeshare so I could leave the bike by the library if I didn’t want to keep cycling and take the metro home.

I reiterate, I had a plan.

Anacostia River Parkland

Anacostia River Parkland

Anacostia River Parkland

It started out okay, although I left later than I’d hoped due to an uncalm stomach, so I ditched both pop-ups from my plan and decided to hit the Aquatic Garden en route to the library. It’s less than a ten-minute ride from one to the other and this way, I thought, I wouldn’t be riding in a less populated area as it got darker.

Anacostia River Parkland
(I suggest you click through and mouse over the above shot on Flickr, because I’ve put in a note showing the Washington Monument, which is too small here to see.)

Anacostia River Parkland

All this was true. It’s beautiful over there and it’s so secluded you’d never know you were in a city. I passed a few people on the trail, but not many, and I had an eye on the clock so I wouldn’t get to the library too late to explore.


Anacostia River Parkland

Anacostia River Parkland

Apparently, I was so busy taking in the scenery and the time that I missed my turn off the trail and back to civilization. When I did finally reach a turn, it was a little later than I’d expected, but not bad. However, it wasn’t the turn I’d wanted. Come to find out I’d overshot D.C. and was now out in Maryland.

Anacostia River Parkland
(Not D.C.)

This is where things start to go off the rails. Consulting Google Maps, I asked it how I should best progress back to Deanwood. Back through the woods, it said. But it was nearly 4:30 at this point, and I was worried about being on the trail alone as it was seriously getting dark. So I nixed that idea and looked at the road signs. I was already on a fast-moving four-lane road, which although it had signs saying cyclists should take the lane, I wasn’t convinced the drivers of it were similarly inclined to agreement. And I was at an on-ramp to what looked like potentially to be a highway. I definitely didn’t want to take a highway! (I have accidentally done this at one point, coming out of National Airport and I do not ever want to repeat that terrifying experiment.) Possibly those roads would have been fine, but I decided to call Rudi and ask him to help find me a way home since he has more experience cycling in outlying areas.

He did find me a route that didn’t involve biking on highways or through dark woods, although it, too, was not without perils (mostly due to poor pedestrian signage and nonexistent warnings about dangerous sidewalk conditions on a stretch of road that I prefer not to bike on during the day, let alone at night (due to the high speed drivers like to take, not for it feeling otherwise dangerous)). By the time I reached home what was supposed to have been a manageable ride of a dozen miles turned into nearly double that and had me pedaling for nearly three hours straight. (Yesterday, I asked Rudi to come meet me because I didn’t want to add two miles to my ride.) The only thing that saved me was that I had taken one of the electric-assist bikes that was nearly fully charged when I borrowed it, but, still, that was a lot of energy expended. I will sleep well tonight.

But it was beautiful before it got stressful…

Anacostia River Parkland

Anacostia River Parkland

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September 9, 2018


rain delay
posted by soe 2:28 am

Rain Delay

This was taken just around midnight, when a rain delay went into effect. We planned to stay until they either called the game or resumed it, but eventually the bike valet called and told Rudi they were leaving and that he had to come get his bike, so we were forced to leave. (Technically, I could have stayed, but then I would have had to bike home alone, and that didn’t seem like fun.)

The game eventually resumed, they played the final scoreless inning, and the Nationals won. By that point, we were home with hot tea, so, really, everyone won.

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September 3, 2018


toasty day game
posted by soe 1:22 am

Day Game

Today I had tickets to see the Nationals, courtesy of the D.C. Public Library summer reading program. It was relentlessly sunny and humid, so I opted to not sit in my seats and instead to stand behind the seats under the scoreboard in right-center field drinking cold beverages. Both Rudi and I were late getting to the game, having come from other activities, but there was still plenty of action in what we saw. As I walked up, the Nationals tied the game and then took the lead. Unfortunately it wasn’t for long, and just as Rudi arrived, the Brewers hit a grand slam to put them ahead irreversibly.

But baseball is baseball and any day at the ballpark can’t be all bad (even if we did totally have to take a nap when we got home this evening).

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August 3, 2018


gigantic, once-in-a-lifetime, and little cat feet
posted by soe 1:21 am

If it’s Thursday, it’s time to reflect back on three beautiful things from the past week:

Gigantic Rainbow

1. Late Monday evening’s downpour was followed by a brief clearing, just long enough to cause an enormous rainbow to fill the eastern sky. I have never seen a rainbow that big — so large, in fact, that I had to use the panorama setting on my phone to capture both ends of it (and that was without the outer double rainbow). It was so impressive, I made Rudi pull the car over so we could capture it.

2. Tuesday night, we had tickets to the Mets-Nationals baseball game. Unfortunately, the Mets played a losing game of football, giving up 7 runs in the first inning and then several innings of three runs apiece. By the time the eighth inning came around, they were six pitchers and nearly 20 runs in the hole. What do you do in that situation? Why turn to your 35-year-old bench-warming, veteran shortstop, of course! That’s right, the Mets put José Reyes on the mound as their final pitcher of the night, where he flung nearly 50 pitches over the plate at speeds ranging from 57 mph (which tapped Ryan Zimmerman on the leg, who grinningly responded by pretending to charge the mound) to a respectable 87 mph. Sure, he gave up six more runs to make the evening the worst loss in Mets history (and ended his pitching debut with an ERA of 54.0 (still vastly better than the ERA of 135.0 he held for a little while)), but he made it a night no one who stuck around to the end of the game will ever forget.

3. San Francisco’s fog is world-renowned (also, it’s named Karl), so I wasn’t shocked to see the Golden Gate Bridge socked in on Friday. It was a little more surprising to watch disembodied wisps of it float through the trees in a park where I was walking the next afternoon, but it was also kind of cool.

How about you? What’s been beautiful in your world lately?


July 15, 2018


just hanging with my pal, jake
posted by soe 1:15 am

Jake and Me

The All-Star Game is this coming Tuesday and will take place here in D.C. There’s lots of hoopla all over the city right now and in the plaza across from our municipal center, they’ve set up life-sized banners of all the players who’ve been named to compete.

I’m a National League girl and the Mets are my team (despite my season-ticketholder status with the Nationals). This is pitcher Jacob deGrom, the Mets’ sole representative to this year’s All-Star lineup. I’ll be keeping my fingers crossed that the National League plays well on Tuesday.

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July 3, 2018


‘there is nothing more human than baseball’
posted by soe 1:26 am

The Relief Pitcher Throws A Sonnet
     ~E. Ethelbert Miller

You have to forget the last election.
The blown save.
What matters is now, not tomorrow, just now.
In every inning there is the possibility of something going wrong,
the way sunlight blinds or the way a ball skips towards
the wall or through and under a glove. You stand on the mound
of your imagination and imagine nothing except your own breath.
In your hands the roundness of the world.

How do you feel? Is this what you’ve always wanted?
It’s not about the score or getting out of the inning.
It’s about saving whatever needs to be saved. It can be nothing
more than one’s reputation or helping a child crave the memory
of magic and something to believe in. There is nothing more
human than baseball.

This is from Miller’s latest collection of poetry, If God Invented Baseball, which came out just as pitchers and catchers were reporting back in February. I’ve borrowed this copy from the library, but I will buy my own because it is a near perfect collection.

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