June 23, 2011

Please Join Me on My Morning Walk!

I'm supposed to take the first dose of my Parkinson's meds when I wake up; then I should wait about an hour before eating. I recently decided I'd use that hour for a walk. Since this is Washington, DC, where the temperature rises quickly into the 80's and 90's -- and the humidity turns the world into a steamroom -- early mornings are often the only time for a walk outside.

I've lived in my house almost 50 years now. But on my new walks around the neighborhood, I'm discovering things that I've never noticed before.

This week, I've been taking a Grand Circuit tour that reminds me of how lucky I was to have found this neighborhood AND to have received the Parkinson's diagnosis and treatments before I carried out my plans to sell the house and move into a retirement residence.

Come along on this walk and you'll see why I refer to this terrific neighborhood as "country living in the city."

Here's where we start, looking back at the house:

Standing in the same spot, we turn around and look down the street toward the elementary school my kids attended:

Then, we head up the hill, which gets steeper with each passing year:

First we see some lovely, more modest houses:

But as we go up the hill, the houses get bigger and pricier:

Then we come to one of my favorites, a home that looks like a Japanese tea house. It was once the residence of Chief Judge Bazelon of the U.S. Court of Appeals in DC. Later, Senator George McGovern lived here:

I like taking pictures of neighborhood gardens. They give me ideas!

Believe it or not, I'm standing in exactly the same spot when taking both pictures below. The first shows the major intersection of Loughboro and Foxhall Roads, just beyond the grass. The second shot shows the entrance to the woods at Battery Kemble Park.

The sign says it's 1.3 miles to the end of the trail through the woods. So I figure my entire roundtrip walk must be close to three miles. It's not like trekking the Annapurna Circuit, but it'll do just fine for this 82-year-old!

We head downhill through the woods (walking more slowly and carefully than I used to)

Halfway down, there's a hill where people come to let their dogs run free (until the Park Police make one of their raids to enforce DC's leash law) After a snow storm, the hillside is filled with people on sleds and skis (It's also the hillside where my son broke his collarbone after riding down it on his bike):

We re-enter the park and enjoy the woods and the small stream running through it:

We exit the park and see the busy street that will lead us home in about ten minutes. But first, we turn around and bid farewell for now to this urban forest.

Now, home for breakfast and coffee. Perhaps later I'll show you my No. 2 favorite walk.
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