Some time ago, I stood in a line behind two men who knew and randomly ran into each other. "I appreciate you,” one said (in lieu of “hello”) when he first made eye contact with the other. A few minutes later, he shook the other guy’s hand and said (instead of “goodbye”), “I appreciate you.” Three of the most meaningful words you can say to another person.
Or to another place. Because I whispered those words to Washington D.C. this weekend, when I was down there for the first time in several years.
I’ve spent a summer in D.C., many of my friends have lived in D.C. at some point, I’ve had two of the best birthday bashes of my life in D.C., my family took trips to D.C. when I was growing up, and “I appreciate you” sums up my thoughts whenever I roll into town. It doesn’t feel like home, it just feels good and comfortable and I’m glad it’s there. Even though it seems smaller each time I return, when I sit in the back of someone’s car looking out the window, catching glimpses of row houses and major monuments, the insuppressible smiles that spread across my face as a kid on a family trip haven’t lost their breadth. And this past weekend, it didn’t hurt to see the cherry blossoms in peak bloom.