One great thing about living in Washington, DC is getting out of it. This is not to say that I don’t love living here; I do. But there are so many fascinating things to do and places to see within an easy drive of DC, that getting out of town can be both easy and great (easy and great if you discount, in general, the horrendous traffic of northern Virginia and, particularly, the Beltway [scourge]). So we’ve been exploring national parks. Two weeks ago we went hiking in the glorious Shenandoah National Park, where I encountered an enormous black bear.
This Saturday we went to Gettysburg National Military Park. The town of Gettysburg itself is cute; it’s not hard to imagine Civil War era Americans wandering the sidewalks in their heavy woolen uniforms and enormous hoop skirts — not hard at all, considering they still are. Being there on the 3rd of July, on the eve of the nation’s birthday and smack in the middle of festivities commemorating the 147th anniversary of the battle, little is left to the imagination as the sidewalks and battlefields are full of people in period dress. Their commitment runs deep, although smart phones have definitely introduced an anachronistic challenge to authenticity.
Anyway, there’s so much I could say about the town, the fields and the monuments, the experience of visiting such a storied landscape. But it’s the people who impressed — not the period actors, but other tourists who littered the place with both their imaginative and sartorial profundities.
Two things really stuck out:
1) The first I am labeling Overheard in Gettysburg: while we were having lunch in the town square we overheard a girl sitting at the table behind us describing one particular version of America’s future. According to her, “If we didn’t let anyone else in, and then ran out of sunscreen, then in like one hundred thousand years we would all be as dark as Aboriginals … or, like, darker.”