50 things I love about city life in Washington, D.C.
50 things I love about city life in Washington, D.C.

50 things I love about city life in Washington, D.C.

This place and its people are wild, alive—owned and loved by God Himself. When I fully digest this, my love for this city and my understanding of who God is intensifies and spills over into love and hope for those nearest me.

Appears in Spring 2007 Issue: Things we love
March 1 st 2007

This place and its people are wild, alive—owned and loved by God Himself. When I fully digest this, my love for this city and my understanding of who God is intensifies and spills over into love and hope for those nearest me.

Where there are sirens, there are also church bells.

Kathryn Streeter is a special contributor and columnnist for her local paper, author of regular articles and quarterlies, and is working on Young Mom, a book persuading families to reconsider the good life of city neighbourhoods. She lives in Alexandria, Virginia.

50 things I love about city life in Washington, D.C.
By Kathryn Streeter
35.1

A passion pervades this city. Sirens sounding remind me of the pain. Church bells ring out in answer—a song of hope. From grand columns and architecture, the meticulous detail of America's most precious man-made structures testifies to man's passion to create something beautiful; it reflects minds filled with creativity and a longing for permanence.


Alexandra and Max Streeter, on Theodore Roosevelt Island (#30) with the spires of Georgetown (#15) in the background.

  1. Picnics and pigeons at Lafayette Square facing the White House
  2. Fourth of July
  3. The Capitol dome bathed in sunlight
  4. An unexpected protest or parade
  5. Books, newspapers, blackberries, cell phones, laptops, and iPods
  6. Quiet talks in the atrium at the National Gallery of Art
  7. The smell of magnolia trees and cherry blossoms
  8. Mr. Dee, the mysterious, reserved old man at Starbucks who weekly gives my children pennies
  9. The glassy Potomac River
  10. The National Cathedral's Resurrection Chapel
  11. Bratwurst from street vendors
  12. Public officials casually walking around
  13. Kayakers gliding the Potomac
  14. The Scottish Christmas Walk Parade
  15. The spires of Georgetown University
  16. Heels getting stuck in city grates or brick sidewalks
  17. Thomas Cole's Voyage of Life series (Childhood, Youth, Manhood, Old Age) in the National Gallery of Art
  18. Pedestrian traffic
  19. The view from the Washington Monument
  20. Hearing familiar and unfamiliar languages
  21. My friend, the Metro
  22. Sharing the same Trader Joe's with Senator John Warner
  23. My children's school friends from all walks of life
  24. Gargoyles at the National Cathedral
  25. Commuter congestion on the sidewalk in front of my townhouse
  26. The Willard Hotel's old-world lounge
  27. Exhibits on the National Mall
  28. Live jazz at the Smithsonian's Sculpture Garden Friday nights with our feet cooling in the fountain
  29. The Union Street Pub and its twenty-year-veteran bartender, Bruce Witucki
  30. Tramping through Theodore Roosevelt Island
  31. Three hours west: mountains and horse country
  32. Three hours east: beaches
  33. Crossing the 14th Street Bridge at the moment a plane is coming in for a landing
  34. Sharing the same Starbucks with John King of CNN and Fred Barnes of Fox News
  35. An easy walk to the local public library with librarians who call my children by name
  36. Washington Zoo, early Thanksgiving morning
  37. Minutes from the Ronald Reagan Airport
  38. Kneeling and praying with my kids for our military at George Washington's Christ Church
  39. Freedom from the car
  40. The Library of Congress
  41. Marine One—and its nearby decoys—overhead
  42. Friendly nannies from all over the world
  43. The National Gallery of Art's free Children's Program
  44. Coffee-shop culture
  45. Dogs, dogs, dogs!
  46. A near-daily walk to the grocery store, just five minutes away
  47. Overhearing my 6-year-old in a political conversation with a classmate
  48. Doric, Ionic, and Corinthian columns
  49. Café La Ruche in Georgetown
  50. The air filled with piercing sirens . . . and church bells.

The intricate design of the city's flowering trees speaks of God's attention and intense delight and matches the marvels of the constructed beauty for which the city is known. Washington, D.C.—both place and people—is wild, alive, and colorful, sparking electricity, and I'm reminded that this 'fullness' around me is inhabited, owned, and loved by God Himself. When I fully digest this, my love for this city and my understanding of who God is intensifies and spills over into love and hope for those nearest me, my husband, and our children. I'm encouraged to bravely challenge both my husband and growing children to charge ahead with passion and energy. Engaging this culture is riddled with pain and disappointment, but where there are sirens, there are also church bells ringing with hope.

The earth is the LORD's and the fullness thereof, the world and those who dwell therein
—Psalm 24:1 (ESV)

Topics: Cities
Kathryn Streeter
 
Kathryn Streeter

Formerly of Washington DC, Kathryn Streeter resides in London with her family after a short stint in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Her first-persons essays can be found in Weekend, a magazine of the Khaleej Times, an English newspaper serving Dubai and the greater Middle East. Most of her energy, however, is spent homeschooling her children to accommodate a year of international moves.

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