We were laying on the Ellipse between the White House and the Washington Monument. The grass was so thick it looked like my kids were without feet - but it was all carefully groomed. On one side there was a constant parade of people taking pictures of themselves with the White House off in the distance - with selfie sticks, with phones, and “real” cameras. The closest you could get to the White House was this shot of it off in the distance but that was okay - it was all about self documentation. Everyone was thrilled to be taking this shot and making it their own.
On the other side was what Stephie called a “guy thing” - the crazy phallic white sword that my boys tried to line up just right - with my camera low. We tried that over and over, using my bright red shoes to line it up. I never got the perfect shot - but we laughed hard when we got a shot of the monument poking Jackson “right there!” (that is not the shot I am posting...) Mostly I just wanted to lay back in the grass next to my boys with their red hot summer faces and look at the sky.
The sky was free. It was available to everyone. It was the same sky they were looking at from behind the White House security curtain and the same sky baking all the UBER driver’s windshields. It was the sky we saw over St. Louis from the roof of the City Museum riding down the hot steel slides. The same sky that turned from day into night at so many baseball games this summer. It was the same sky we squinted into raining on the Berkshires. Same sky we could see up through the trees in my mother’s backyard in Pittsburgh and at the motel pool in New Jersey. It was the rich people’s sky and the poor people’s sky and we were all sharing it. Some of us had an incredible view of it everyday. Some of us saw it through a fog of work. Some of us took it’s picture painted with fireworks and shared it. Some of us just laid there in the grass in the 100 degree heat in Washington with our eyes closed, reaching for our children’s hands.