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Lafayette salutes the White House
Not taken today, but my exact view this afternoon, accompanied by an espresso-chocolate cookie.

When I moved away from Squaw Valley for the first time, I spent more than a month in Phoenix before it felt like home. I distinctly remember that moment. I’d been living on canned chili and tuna, trying just to get acclimated. Finally, I decided it was time to eat something real, and I fried up some fajitas. Minutes after throwing the onions in the pan, the smell —one of the best in the world— wafted through the apartment.

That smell, to me, was home.

Today, that moment happened in D.C.

Starving around 6 p.m., I wandered out of the office with the intention of grabbing a pack of almonds from Starbucks. I decided to walk to the Starbucks on the far corner of McPherson Square to stretch my legs.

I ended up in the middle of a farmer’s market that I didn’t even know existed.

In Phoenix, I spent nearly every Saturday morning at the Public Market, picking out my week’s produce and then sipping a Royal coffee to go with it. It was a cherished ritual, often the only relaxing time I had in the week. And it made me feel connected to my original roots: the organic herb nursery my parents built from scratch, the hundreds of acres of farmland in the Central Valley, the hometown college renowned for its ag program.

Farmer’s markets are universally similar, I guess. The signs were so familiar despite being new, from the fonts to the sharpied prices. It was wrapping up, but a few stalls still waited as stragglers picked out bunches of summer squash and butter lettuce, organic goat cheese and homemade pastries. I walked down the street, grinning, then turned to go back to Starbucks (I had a gift card, after all). And then I stopped and thought, “No, dammit. This needs celebrating.”

So I bought an espresso cookie, which I ate in Lafayette Square, in the shadow of the White House and Washington Monument. I lingered there a while, trying to process where I was. I looked at the White House.

Sky’s the limit, I thought cheekily.

Published in Skies