Turn to Stone

20110625

D.C. bums me out a little. Not because I don't enjoy my internship or the people I live and work with, but because I don't feel quite like I fit with the people here. But last night my attitude changed.

It was brought on by (what else?) a run. I hit the pavement at around 7PM and ran along the Potomac on Rock Creek Trail. I passed the Watergate Complex, the Kennedy Center, and came upon the sand volleyball pits behind the Lincoln Memorial. I looked out upon the dozens of people laughing and playing together, with the sun setting behind them--and the monuments, and the Capitol--and my heart just swelled. Man, this place is beautiful.

I continued running down the Arlington Memorial Bridge. As I crossed over the river and into Arlington National Cemetery, Ingrid Michaelson's "Turn to Stone" started playing on my iPod. I slowed to a stop and listened.

Let's take a better look
Beyond a storybook
And learn our souls are all we own
Before we turn to stone 

Let's go to sleep with clearer heads 
And hearts too big to fit our beds 
And maybe we won't feel so alone 
Before we turn to stone 

My heart started pounding in my chest as I looked around. I was standing among thousands who had turned to stone. After a few moments of still meditation, I crossed back over the bridge again. Instead of running home, however, I ran to the Lincoln Memorial. As I walked up the marble steps toward Lincoln, I stepped on the stone tablet marking the place where Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered his famous "I Have a Dream" speech. Looking up and out across the Mall, I saw what is perhaps the most famous stone building in the entire city--the Washington Monument. Behind me, the stone sculpture of Abraham Lincoln. To the left of me, nearly 60,000 names carved in black stone on the Vietnam War Memorial.

I stood inside the Lincoln Memorial watching families take pictures in front of him. There was a white family, an Indian family, and a black family. I realized that this is what Lincoln had worked toward--this day. I reflected on the Gettysburg Address and the line that reads they gave the last full measure of devotion. And it struck me that Lincoln was not exempt from his own words: He gave that himself. As have countless others. How could I not love this city? This city that lives and breathes the sorrows and joys and pains and triumphs of a country?

I walked in my apartment door with a renewed love for DC, and a stronger resolve to let my life become some sort of sacrifice before I turn to stone too.


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6 COMMENTS:

  1. love this so much. i want more posts like this.

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  3. Kristi,

    I love how much you love America and appreciate the sacrifice of others. There IS so much negative to focus on, the crap America has done, its competitive reputation, its obesity rates, haha, etc. Our media focuses so much on it (you could almost say entirely on it). Many of our citizens are full of this cynicism. Obviously, our enemies are full of this cynicism and disgust. But we truly live in a country that has sacrificed so much for us and has given us so much of what I still don't all the way understand or appreciate, as much as I would like to. We both are part of a religion and gospel that is centered on sacrifice and becoming more through the opportunities our country gives us. I shy away from politics because of this negativity--it makes me feel sick. I admire your courage and strength to hold onto the good and hope, even though you are often exposed to some of the worst. In this way, you have been an example to me and I want to try harder to be stronger. Thank you for sharing this.

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  4. I love this post. Look up So you think you can dance (and don't make fun of me) Turn to stone.

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