potomac before it was potomac

photo of the Potomac by amomentmore

I love this section of the rail between Virginia and the District, this rupture in the underground above the slate river. I love the frosted shards that floated beneath us this morning, the jade color that fades into cobalt by the time your eyes reach the horizon – something that only exists here, as it’s blocked by buildings on either edge – and the tree-dotted coastline that looks timeless in my nearsighted vision. I love that despite the rocking of the train around me, the planes landing just above head, the graffiti on the abandoned bridge, the boats passing underneath, and the cars blinking ahead that this blurred moment could be anytime. I love that in this moment it looks like a place called Potomac, like Virginia before it was Virginia, like Virginia after it is Virginia. I love the way our water sounds on my tongue, the way it demands muscle and attention: Potomac, Anacostia, Chesapeake. I love it in the old canal, in the timber creek, in the distant bay. I love it beneath my feet as I swing on the edge of the Jones Point rocks and I love it here on the tracks.

I fall back on the old hymns every time we pass by: casting down their golden crowns around the glassy sea. I see them in the softly gleaming creases of the tide. This is what I mean by home: this place, its inklike starkness, and the enduring tranquility of having been in love your whole life.

Published by Catherine Addington

I am a translator from Spanish to English and a writer on saints, myths, and icons in both religious and secular contexts.

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