Almost a year later, I return to our nation’s capital, Washington D.C. (see my last visit – Finding Kilroy or a prior one – Rock and Rain DC). The city is familiar to the point of being stale. I know the subway system. I know the monuments. I know the museums. Without thinking, I default to the same running route — hotel to the Mall — to the Washington Monument — to the Lincoln Memorial (where I run up the stairs and stand for a moment of awe) — back down the stairs to the Capitol — and then circle back to the hotel. It’s a flat four or five miles.
Today, my route takes me straight down 16th Street to the White House where I circle around to find the Mall and my regular route. Familiarity keeps me from snapping pictures of the grandiose stone buildings, White House, or memorials to great figures in American history. Today is a typical training run, only in a different city.
After I pause and stare at Lincoln, I head back along the Reflecting Pool and, well, reflect. My mind wanders to Forrest Gump and Jenny jumping in the Pool to catch Forrest’s attention. I think about Kilroy from my last visit and the hidden gems throughout the city calling me to investigate what I have not seen before.
Uncharacteristically, I stop at the World War II Memorial and consider my previous Kilroy encounter . Is the memorial really symmetric? Last year, I only looked for Kilroy on the “Atlantic” side of the memorial due to heavy rain. Now I find myself walking along the “Pacific” side to the end of the columns where I peer down into the maintenance staircase. There’s another Kilroy — it is symmetric.
One discovery leads to more changing the routineness of my past visits into a game of “I spy” differences. The scaffolding on the Capitol has been removed. Martin Luther King Jr. is staring at Thomas Jefferson. Flowers are beginning to bloom.
Even in the midst of the unchanging, there are new things things to discover.
The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. (Lamentations 3:22-23)