Thursday, February 5, 2009

The Challenge of Branching Out



I live in one of the loveliest little villages in the world, Capitol Hill. My village exists within the city of Washington DC. There is no wall around the neighborhood, there are no village boundaries marked with stones, signs or fences, there is no gate to the village of Capitol Hill. Nevertheless, all of us who live here know exactly where our village begins and ends. The walls and markers are unnecessary.

The benefits of living on the Hill are many. I would never have believed it when I lived in San Francisco, for instance, but it's true that Capitol Hill is by far the friendliest neighborhood I've ever lived in. If anything bad ever happened, really anything, I know I could knock on just about every door on this block and be welcomed in. I am not exaggerating.

So, it's great to be a Hillizen - and - the disadvantages of living here have to do with a tendency to get stuck. A potent Capitol Hill inertia developed the moment I moved here. That inertia gave rise to an idea (which quickly took root in my head) that leaving the Hill was not desirable. Or even possible.

It's always kind of a surprise, when I get on the Metro to go have dinner with friends in Dupont Circle, that I actually can leave the Hill. Maybe this sounds strange, though if you talk to other Hillizens, they'll confirm I'm not the only one who feels this way. We live in our own reality, a reality we prefer to remain within. Our reality is good and sometimes not so good (as are so many realities in life, yes?)

In the spirit of my goal to branch out this year, I've secured a deal to work downtown one day a week, beginning in March. I'll share the office with a naturopath, homeopath, and a craniosacral therapist. Cool? Yes, I think so, too. I'm going to be working on K Street NW, right in the thick of downtown. Yay!

This spring, I'm making it my business to get off the Hill on a regular basis, whether it feels possible or not. Inertia? What inertia? Won't the trees be so proud of me?

32 comments:

Merle Sneed said...

Ilove Washington and I envy the choice you've made to live there.

Angela said...

They`ll love ya! Did you see Fire Byrd`s tree pictures? With the white feet? I love trees, they are so friendly. And yes, branching out!

Peggy said...

Reya's getting off The Hill! Maybe that means I'll bump into you when I'm out there early May for my daughter's graduation. Who knew such blessings could be had by imitating trees?! Good for you!

tut-tut said...

It's good to get outside one's box; you sound as if you fashioned quite a lovely existence for yourself!

Reya Mellicker said...

I love synchronicity! Here's what Peggy posted on her blog today:

“All the art of living lies in a fine mingling of letting go and holding on.”

-- Havelock Ellis


Oh yeah!

janis said...

Capitol Hill is beautiful, no wonder you rarely stray.
However, I agree.
Get out there girl! Explore more. I am hoping you drag the camera and post more photos of your outings!

Butternut Squash said...

What adventure waits for us beyond our invisible boundaries? Perhaps, it is the wisdom of sameness. (You know, I love an adventure.) Pack up the seeds of what you love the most about where you are and sow them wherever you go.

Peace.

Joanne said...

If anything, leaving the Hill once a week will make the return at the end of the day sweet, so you've added that essence to your life!

Lover of Life said...

It sounds wonderful. Cool urban "villages" are a wonderful way to live. We always hope to get back to Portland, OR, and live in their cool urban downtown.

Thanks for your nice response on my blog - I answered you there.

deborah said...

not just the trees
courageous Reya
not just the trees
love to you

Wildeve said...

The trees will be very proud of you! I love that thought. It sounds like you have a lovely community. I can't blame you for wanting to stay.
I live on a peninsula connected to the mainland by two bridges. I know people who never venture over the bridges. We call it "Bridge Syndrome," or "Over the Bridge Syndrome."
Although I don't feel the sense of community here so much, I love lots of other things about it. I find that leaving and coming back makes me appreciate home even more.

uought2b.a.dog said...

The hill sounds like a great place. Love your photos of the trees!

Meri Arnett-Kremian said...

I miss D.C. sometimes, just not those days that you walk outside and feel the asphalt squish under your feet. I had offices at 20th & M; 12th & Penn (the view of the inauguration parade would have been amazing); and in the Forrestal building. It was fun to be able to walk across Independence to the Mall and eat lunch in the Smithsonian member dining room or hit an exhibition at lunchtime (or when I'd finished writing a decision and needed some air). Your neighborhood sounds amazing. . . here, my neighbor stood at the top of his driveway with a snow shovel and watched as I tried to dig out my car during a recent snowstorm. My neighborhood is an enclave of married Republicans who view a divorced woman as a pariah, apparently.

Lynne said...

When I saw the title of your post and the first photo with the reflection of the words "day school" I thought you were going back to school. :)

Sounds like you live in a very cool community! I sort of feel the same way when I leave my town to go "down the mountain" to a bigger city.

Reya Mellicker said...

Thanks to all for the encouragement!!

Thanks, Butternut, for the wisdom, and yes I'll be taking my camera downtown, oh yeah.

I'm trying, but failing to get this out of my head today:

When you're alone and life is making you lonely
You can always go - downtown
When you've got worries, all the noise and the hurry
Seems to help, I know - downtown
Just listen to the music of the traffic in the city
Linger on the sidewalk where the neon signs are pretty
How can you lose?

The lights are much brighter there
You can forget all your troubles, forget all your cares
So go downtown, things'll be great when you're
Downtown - no finer place, for sure
Downtown - everything's waiting for you


Bless you Petula Clark. Or ... curse you? (Because the tune is running non-stop through my head.)

e said...

DC is one of the places I've considered moving, if I ever can figure out everything else I need in order to have the wherewithall to go. Right now, medical stuff and a paid for place are keeping me tethered, so is the job market...Great pics!

Elizabeth said...

Love how the tree 's shape is echoed on the pavement.
So nice to live somewhere you feel happy.

willow said...

Hillizen! I like that! :)

lettuce said...

that sounds like a great work opportunity reya

funny though how almost anywhere can become a bit like that - enclosed. My daughter went to primary school with kids who'd never been on the 20 min. train into central london ...

The Family Julz said...

I love love love the collages. Good luck in your exploratory endeavors!

Chimera said...

I seem to have had a couple of my comments disappear! most annoying but fingers crossed this time...
Just wanted to say that your photography inspires me all the time! It really is beautiful. there was one of melted ice a few posts ago..and this one and the last one... so lovely!
Glad you too have been smothered in blog awards! Its great and keeps me writing. Am off to Zambia tomrorow so who knows what is next ...
much love
Tanvir

Simply Heather said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Simply Heather said...

{the link wouldn't work in my first comment posted...hmmm}

I suppose I should look up what these people are, who you'll be with in the office. I don't think we have many around here in the back woods of VT...if so, they must be in an office :o).

Once again, Reya, the dog that is on the leash? If that is your dog, you'll have to peek over at my Grace. You won't believe the similarity. Kinda neat.

Bee said...

I'm getting to the point where I don't even like to leave my house. I try to go to London every couple of weeks just to shake myself up a bit.

Your downtown adventure sounds full of possibilities.

Susan said...

Hmmm... Good to get out of the "comfort zone" once a week or so. I imagine that you will feel an even greater sense of joy and appreciation when you return to your "Hillizen aerie" on those days. The trees will definitely be proud of you.

Ronda Laveen said...

What an opportunity, to work in such a multi-disciplined environment. And spring is the PERFECT time for growth...emotionally, spiritually, and photographically. I feel that, not only are they proud of you, the trees are also guiding you. Maybe they have cousins or messages for you on the other side.

Petula Clark reminds me of my 13th birthday. I got a hi-fi stereo and 3 albums: Petula Clark, Dave Clark 5, and The Beach Boys..."my 409." There, I just gave you a new song for your head.

Carolyn said...

Great post and lovely photos once again. You posts always ground me. Thanks for sharing.
Smiles

Poutalicious said...

I love it when the Golden Puppy makes it into a shot. I've been very absorbed in sponging up every word on your blog tonight. I absolutely love the photo of the grass, snow, and sun! Suffice it to say that I feel culture shock (in a good way) too. I hope you always write and post because I truly enjoy kicking back and hearing about your life on the Hill.

karen said...

gorgeous pics! i love the idea of The Hill as Village.. stunning, thanks for that! :-)

Adrianne said...

Reya goes to K Street to bring peace and healing to all the uptight and self-absorbed lobbyists and lawyers -- I love it!!! I also totally agree that the Hill is the friendliest little village ever. I felt the "Hillizen inertia" that day that you wanted to go to Mark's Kitchen and wander around Takoma Park, and look how well *that* turned out! (: )

Guru LaRue ( I am not really a Guru it just rhymes with my name:) said...

Sounds great that you are branching out and http://shadetreeyoga.blogspot.com/doing some work with a Naturopathic Dr (Dr. Mike Constantine) He just wrote a book called Holism Movement http://www.holismmovement.com/
You might want to check it out. It is very expansive in his way of thinking. Your pictures are beautiful;)

Guru LaRue ( I am not really a Guru it just rhymes with my name:) said...

Sounds great that you are branching out and http://shadetreeyoga.blogspot.com/doing some work with a Naturopathic Dr (Dr. Mike Constantine) He just wrote a book called Holism Movement http://www.holismmovement.com/
You might want to check it out. It is very expansive in his way of thinking. Your pictures are beautiful;)