1. Around 11:00, I drove to Union Station, parked the Sube in the parking garage, grabbed a chocolate croissant and a dark roast coffee at Starbucks, and meandered over to the Circulator bus stop. My plan: head over to the Tidal Basin and see about taking pictures of the exploding and exquisite cherry blossoms. I boarded the bus and my SmarTrip card didn't work and I (stupidly) wasn't carrying any money. But, the kindest bus driver in the world blamed her machine for not reading my fare card and so I got to ride. Later in the day, I confirmed with a station manager at the Smithsonian Metro station that my SmarTrip card was damaged, unreadable, so I walked back to Union Station, grateful with every step, as I racked up over 9000 for the day, that my big toe is about 95 per cent healed. The walking and the nearly total absence of pain made me giddy.
2. So, I wondered, will the Tidal Basin be a mob scene on Maundy Thursday? Yes. I discovered it was a mob scene. So, I made a decision. I smiled and kept a smile throughout my visit. I decided to enjoy being a member of this throng enjoying our shared possession of this magnificent place, of these cherry trees and of the towering monuments nearby. Others smiled back. Two women and then a group of people asked me to take their pictures with their cameras. I marveled at the battalion of paddle boats out on the Tidal Basin. I took pictures -- I'll put up a bunch of them at the end of this post -- and I felt more fully American than maybe I ever have, just being in the company of so many people enjoying our National Mall. By the way, here's one picture that gives you a sense the numbers of people I shared my early afternoon with!
3. The Maundy Thursday service at St. Andrew's was a solemn hour and a half of music and prayers devoted to the beauty of the Last Supper and Christ's washing of his disciples' feet. In the same way that Jesus Christ was stripped upon being crucified, the service ended, in preparation for Good Friday, with the altar being stripped and with all of us leaving the church in silence.
Here are some pictures. If you want to see all the slightly over sixty pictures I took, see my album on flickr, here.