The Virtues of Putting Aside the Day’s News and Looking Up to See the Sky

Blue skies in Washington today.

The headlines in today’s Washington Post A-section were about Trump and war and corruption and impeachment—the newspaper, usually unhappy, was especially angry—but when I took Cruiser, our dog, to a nearby park for his morning walk and we went out onto an open field the sky was as clear and blue as you’ll ever see. The virtues in looking up each morning to see the real world.

Growing up in Wisconsin we had a lake cottage and we were there for most of our summers. It was before much television so we spent a lot of lazy time out on the water, fishing for perch and bluegills. When the fish weren’t biting, I’d often lay back and look up at the cloud formations.

When years later I moved to Washington and settled down with a wife, children, dog, and a job in journalism, we looked for a house near a park. We found one a block away from Westmoreland Park, which has play areas and a big open field.

Early each morning I’d walk our dog down to the open field and we’d wander and I’d look up at the sky. Sometimes, like today, it was clear and blue. Sometimes it was gray—I hoped it wasn’t an omen of problems at work. Usually you could see some clouds.

Also lots of birds—in the fall formations of ducks flying south.  Planes from National Airport headed skyward—where were they going, will the people inside be happy to get there?

At one point I had a chance to leave Washington to edit a bigger magazine in New York City. Before I went in to talk to the Hearst people I looked up at the tall buildings all around 57th Street and you could barely see any sky.

Did I really want to leave Washington where even in the middle of downtown DC you can look up and see lots of sky? Where you can live a block from a park, only 20 minutes from the office, and each morning see, like today, a beautiful blue sky.

And where, if I stayed in Washington, each morning I could forget about the day’s news and remember what it was like being a kid again out on a lake without a care in the world.



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