January in the District

I moved to the D.C. in the spring of 2001, and watched the Pentagon burn a few months later. I thought those would be the worst days I would see in the city, but last week jolted me with how wrong I was.

Tributes to Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick, who died from being struck by a fire extinguisher at the Capitol

I’ve lived in the city – actual, inside the District line, D.C. – for almost 20 years. I am still processing the traumatic events that occurred in the city I chose as my adult home.

Sunrise on Pennsylvania this Wednesday. Flags up for the Inauguration

My running routes regularly take me down the Mall around the Capitol. Daily errands by bike do the same. As you might imagine, my routine is a bit upended right now.

National Guard through the fence at the U.S. Capitol

I struggle to comprehend this brutal attack on the federal government. Regular readers know I am a civil servant. I believe strongly in the good that government can do.

Signs up on Saturday near the Capitol. These were taken down the next day. No signage is permitted on the barriers

It has been a challenging time here – everywhere, I know. Like many I’m apprehensive about the week ahead. How do we get through to the other side?

Welcome Joe and Kamala, also from Saturday’s run

I recognize how important it is for the mind to disconnect from current events, but it sure is difficult when the current events are unfolding down your street.

Bus stop by HUD

One of my goals for this year was to write more regularly on the blog. We’ll see if I make it happen. As I may have mentioned here, I also started graduate school so who can say?


In the meantime, I wanted to share some photos of the last couple of weeks. I’ve still been going out for runs, and my friend C and I still make time for our city walks. These are such meaningful parts of my day.

I hope everyone is taking care of themselves. There is beauty in every day, sometimes we have to look extra hard to see it.


  1. This is very moving Mary. I grew up and spent my early adult years in Maryland, outside of Baltimore, and went to the University of Maryland for my undergraduate degree. DC had been a relatively big thing in my life back then (a lifetime ago it seems) so this hits home a little for me as well. I know it is devastating for everyone in our nation, but being familiar with the city makes it even more personal. Do take care and let’s all take care of ourselves and each other through this most difficult storm. Thanks for all you do to keep us connected. It does help.


  2. Thank you for posting your thoughts and photos. It was a terrible day for our country and much too scary for our wonderful government professionals like you. A guy from Utah has been arrested. I hope we can get out from under this domestic terrorism and eventually get back to some semblance of normal.


  3. Thank you for sharing your photos and perspective. Being clear across the other side of the U.S. it is especially interesting to see what you see on your daily route. Thinking of you and hoping for a speedy return to a more normal routine for all. Stay well and safe!


    • While watching live TV coverage here in the UK, I said to my wife that a lady I follow on Strava often runs along these boulevards and plazas. Sue said I must mean the lady that sends me badges and socks. (See! You’re a legend in our house!) We just sat here gob-smacked looking at the news, as must have people all over the world.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. In case you missed in from DC, half the cities in the country burned this past summer. Some cities for months. You got one day of some knuckleheads because one party in a bunch of swing states managed to ignore or bend election laws and ruin safeguards that cast doubt over an election to a degree never seen in our lifetime, and then the elites and media in DC completely misdiagnosed everything to absolve the machine from having to look at how it treats us, the non-civil servant little people. And the best part is, that little idiotic stunt down your street was the second time this year property was wrecked over the a mass of people were ignored and mistreated by the establishment. If you think four years of Joe and Kamala are going to bring peace and reasonableness to the country, I just don’t see it that way.

    The establishment can’t even read a bunch of right or left wing nuts so it can possibly look at itself as part of the problem. We sent you Trump to remind you of the part that comes after “civil”. Sooner or later you’ll remember that we’re the boss and we’re going to keep throwing politicians at you who will shake you up.

    It breaks my heart the message was missed so badly. Now we’re going to have to send you Don Junior. And unlike pops, he can actually speak well.


  5. Y’all be safe this week. Probably a good thing most of the USG folks are already working from home. Fewer people out and about downtown.


  6. When I see references to the “deep state”, I think of the thousands of people like you, civil servants who truly believe in contributing to the functioning of our society because it matters. People who develop deep expertise over the course of their careers, because competence matters. People who do the best work they can through Democratic and Republican administrations, because the work is important regardless of who is in charge. Civil servants who can take pride in their service to civil society despite the sneers of those who cannot imagine such dedication. Thank you, Mary. Be safe. Continue to be brave. Know that many of us value and respect your work, even if the loudest voices do not.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Thank you Mary for sharing and posting. I have not been able to process what happened, and what may happen this week, and what our city and country have become. I hope for a return to a common purpose for the common good, but struggle to see how we get there from here. Honestly, I have avoided going downtown most of this week just ot avoid seeing the fencing, guards, and security. I was there on Tuesday and that was hard enough. Stay safe, stay strong.


  8. Sending you such caring thoughts and appreciation for all the goodness that you send out into the world Mary. Keep safe and know that more of us are waiting for light and truth to return and believe that goodness and decency will win.


  9. Mary – happy to say we made it through this past week, and positive change is now afoot. Thank you for your pictures and words coming from so close to the epicenter of all this. Living in the US I thought I was close to it…you are right on top of it. Our country has been through dark days before, and we will weather these, as well. Keep the faith, keep writing, keep running and keep riding.


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