among the reasons I have come to love arlington in spring

i go for a walk in late morning
the first true day of promise
since fall
and carry two cards to the post office by hand
the blossoms are round fuzz balls in the dogwood fingertips
awaiting tomorrow’s manicure of purple flower
a Hispanic woman steps off a city bus
clearly lost
but not uncomfortable in her winter coat
i give her directions to her destination
just two blocks above us
and actually know where it is
a helicopter of “undisclosed location” flies over my head
tracing the potomac river line below it
i know it is he, mr. President,
as if it pulls a motorcade, maybe
settling a “nucular” moment
slipping my cards into the postbox
i turn to wave back to
a car carrying three generations of african american women
fully suited
smiling as if they know
i’ve read the history of
delta sigma theta and search with me for sisterhood
returning i cross lee highway
wondering if the
general once crossed it too
and am amused by the look
on a runner’s lingering face
wearing shorts and a tank top
and comfortable
in her muscles and skin i admire
as i turn close to home
and walking up rock creek i smile.
the well-worn path holds
no trace
of its many canine travelers
arlingtonians always carry plastic bags
i am greeted by a small, crystal-voiced
little girl who from her backyard
calls out “hi you”
i say it back and her beagle doesn’t like
my voice reaching over the fence
and barks till she tells me
“annabelle is saying hi too
but she’s a dog”
i can see that, i say and walk on
glorious day, i boast to a woman on my street
hair braided in 60 years of memory
carelessly holding the leash of her dog
the neighbor replies “exquisite”
I love the mind of arlington
– judith ann hillard –