Archive for the ‘Miscellaneous’ Category

The Constitution Room at the National Archives

On today’s bike ride I stopped by to see the United States Constitution at the U.S. National Archives and Records Administration Building.  To find out why you’ll have to keep reading all the way to the end.

On this date in 1787, 39 of the 42 men who were gathered together in Philadelphia signed a document. That four-page document is now located down the street from my office displayed in temperature and environmentally controlled cases behind protective glass framed with titanium. And on today’s lunchtime bike ride I not only rode there, but also went inside to see the actual document that was present 226 years ago at that meeting in Philadelphia.

Today is the anniversary of the signing of the United States Constitution at the conclusion of the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia, Pensylvania. (Yes, I know Pennsylvania is spelled incorrectly in the previous sentence, but it was also spelled wrong in the Constitution.)

As dictated by Article VII, the document would not become binding until it was ratified by nine of the 13 states. Beginning on December 7, five states–Delaware, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Georgia, and Connecticut–ratified it in quick succession. However, other states, especially Massachusetts, opposed the document, as it failed to reserve undelegated powers to the states and lacked constitutional protection of basic political rights, such as freedom of speech, religion, and the press. In February 1788, a compromise was reached under which Massachusetts and other states would agree to ratify the document with the assurance that amendments would be immediately proposed. The Constitution was thus narrowly ratified in Massachusetts, followed by Maryland and South Carolina. On June 21, 1788, New Hampshire became the ninth state to ratify the document, and it was subsequently agreed that government under the U.S. Constitution would begin on March 4, 1789. In June, Virginia ratified the Constitution, followed by New York in July.

In addition to Pensylvania being spelled incorrectly, here are some other interesting facts about the Constitution:  

  • The Constitution contains 4,543 words, including the signatures and has four sheets, 28-3/4 inches by 23-5/8 inches each. It contains 7,591 words including the 27 amendments.
  • The U.S. Constitution is the oldest working and shortest written Constitution of any major government in the world.
  • The word “democracy” does not appear once in the Constitution.
    Benjamin Franklin made a suggestion at the Constitutional Convention that the sessions be opened with a prayer. The delegates refused to accept the motion stating that there was not enough money to hire a chaplain.
  • Thomas Jefferson did not sign the Constitution. He was in France during the Convention, where he served as the U.S. minister. John Adams was serving as the U.S. minister to Great Britain during the Constitutional Convention and did not attend either.
  • The Constitution was “penned” by Jacob Shallus, A Pennsylvania General Assembly clerk, for $30 ($726 today).
  • Patrick Henry was elected as a delegate to the Constitutional Convention, but declined, because he “smelt a rat.”
  • There was a proposal at the Constitutional Convention to limit the standing army for the country to 5,000 men. George Washington sarcastically agreed with this proposal as long as a stipulation was added that no invading army could number more than 3,000 troops!
  • James Madison, “the father of the Constitution,” was the first to arrive in Philadelphia for the Constitutional Convention. He arrived in February, three months before the convention began, bearing the blueprint for the new Constitution.
  • Because of his poor health, Benjamin Franklin needed help to sign the Constitution. As he did so, tears streamed down his face. Franklin, at 81 years old, was also the oldest person to sign the Constitution. The youngest was Jonathan Dayton of New Jersey, who was 26.
  • Of the forty-two delegates who attended most of the meetings, thirty-nine actually signed the Constitution. Edmund Randolph and George Mason of Virginia and Elbridge Gerry of Massachusetts refused to sign due in part due to the lack of a bill of rights.
  • A proclamation by President George Washington and a congressional resolution established the first national Thanksgiving Day on November 26, 1789. The reason for the holiday was to give “thanks” for the new Constitution.
  • George Washington and James Madison were the only presidents who signed the Constitution.
  • At the time of the Constitutional Convention Philadelphia was the most modern city in America and the largest city in North America. It had a population of 40,000 people, 7,000 street lamps, 33 churches, 10 newspapers, and a university.
  • As Benjamin Franklin left the Pennsylvania State House after the final meeting of the Constitutional Convention on September 17, 1787, he was approached by the wife of the mayor of Philadelphia. She was curious as to what the new government would be. Franklin replied, “A republic, madam. If you can keep it.” .

And finally, Constitution Day is celebrated on September 17, the anniversary of the day the framers signed the document. That’s today, so Happy Constitution Day!

The U.S. National Archives and Records Administration Building

NOTE: They do not allow photography of any kind inside the National Archives building, which is why I don’t have a photo of the Constitution.. However, I surreptitiously took the above photo of the Constitution Room on my way out. .

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The FBI Academy

On this weekend bike outing I went to the Marine Corps Base Quantico, on the grounds of which the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (FBI’s) Training Academy is located.  Situated on 385 acres of woodlands approximately 36 miles south of D.C. near the town of Quantico in Stafford County, Virginia (MAP), the FBI Academy is a full-service national training facility, with: classrooms and conference rooms; dormitories; indoor and outdoor firing ranges; a gym and aquatic pool; a library; a dining hall; the Tactical and Emergency Vehicle Operations Center, which teaches safe, efficient driving techniques to FBI and Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) personnel and other government and military personnel, and; Hogan’s Alley, a training complex simulating a small town for carrying out practical exercises and training.

The FBI Academy was first opened in 1972, the year in which J. Edgar Hoover, the man who was instrumental in founding the FBI in 1935, became its first Director, and then lead the organization for the next 37 years.  The Academy is operated by the Bureau’s Training Division, and was initially where new FBI Special Agents received their first training after being hired. One of the many changes after the 9/11 terrorist attacks in 2001 was the development of additional and specialized training for Intelligence Analysts.  Over time the training of FBI Special Agents and Intelligence Analysts became integrated into an expansive integrated curriculum currently known as the Basic Field Training Course (BFTC).

The BFTC was developed by the Training Division to meet the Bureau’s ambitious goal of training new Agent and Intelligence Analyst candidates in a way that prepares them for their collaborative work in the field.  Previously, Agents and Analysts had completely separate training.  The BFTC replaced these two distinctly separate programs with an integrated, collaborative course that uses a dedicated field office team approach mirroring the environment that they will experience in their field assignments.

And although new Agents are still typically synonymous with the FBI Academy, the Training Division also instructs many other diverse groups of people.  In addition to Intelligence Analysts, those who currently receive training at the Academy include: people in a wide variety of professional staff positions at the FBI; law enforcement officers from other Federal agencies as well as state, local and tribal police and law enforcement entities, and; appropriate individuals from the private sector.  Elite units such as the Hostage Rescue Team, Evidence Response Teams, Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT), and law enforcement leaders from across the world also attend the Academy and utilize its training facilities to improve on skills.

In addition to the Training Division, the Academy grounds are also host to a number of other divisions and entities.  They include the Hostage Rescue Team Complex, the Operational Technology Division and its engineering research facility, the FBI Laboratory, the Forensic Science Research and Training Center, and the DEA’s Justice Training Center.

This ride was longer and different, but just as interesting as the shorter rides I used to take during my daily lunch break at work in D.C.  And it’s this kind of ride that I hope to take often now that I’m retired.

 

[Click on the photos to view the full-size versions]

1.  Hoover Road, named after the FBI’s founding and long-time Director, J. Edgar Hoover.
2.  A sign at the East Gate Security Entrance, which is the main entrance to the FBI Academy.
3.  The Academy’s Jefferson Building,which houses administrative offices and the student check-in and visitors center.
4.  A view from a distance of the Madison Dormitory building.
5. The intersection of route MCB-4 and J. Edgar Hoover Road, near the west gate entrance to the FBI Academy
6.  The sign at the West Gate Security Entrance to the FBI Academy
7.  Welcome sign at the entrance to the mock town named Hogan’s Alley
8.  Mock businesses, including a laundromat and pool hall, in Hogan’s Alley.  Interestingly, the outsides of the buildings in Hogan’s Alley simulate a small town for carrying out practical exercises and training. But the insides contain offices for Training Division personnel.
9.  A mock movie theater in Hogan’s Alley named The Biograph, named and modelled  after the theater in Chicago where FBI Agents attempted to arrest but ended up
killing gangster John Dillinger on July 22, 1934
10.  The Firearms Training Support Facility building that houses the Training Division’s Firearms Training Unit
11.  One of several outdoor firing ranges
12.  The indoor firing range

NOTE:  Due to security concerns there is currently very limited public access to Marine Corps Base Quantico and no public access to the FBI Academy grounds or facilities.

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Putting FBI Headquarters in My Bike’s Rearview Mirror

After six and a half years of going out for a bike ride each day during my lunch break from work and then writing about it in this blog, things are changing.  Actually, they have been changing for awhile.  Some minor health issues during the past year kept me from riding as much as I traditionally had.  And then back in March the coronavirus pandemic hit.  And instead of going in to my office, I was ordered to telework from home.  This, combined with lockdowns, closures, social distancing and everything else that has been going on, temporarily kept me from riding and writing at all.  And now the biggest change of them all has occurred.  Today, after working for the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) for the past 32 years, I retired.

And based on these changes, this blog will be changing too.  Instead of short bike rides during my lunch hour, I will be able to start going for longer rides.  And this will enable me to ride to places where I otherwise would not be able to go.  And instead of the bike I kept in the basement parking garage of my office building, I will be riding a wider variety of my bikes that I keep at home.

Additionally, now that I will have the time and the freedom to ride when, where and what I want, I will soon begin training for long-distance rides and the multi-day bike touring that I have been planning for some time, but not been able to fit into my schedule.  It will take some training to get back to the level of physical fitness I was at just a year or so ago.  And that will take some time.  But starting today I will have a lot of that.

Not everything will be changing, however.  I will still be riding to various places throughout D.C. like I always have.  It’s much too interesting a city to stop exploring it.  There are still many statues and monuments I have yet to see and find out more about.  There are many murals and pieces of public artwork I have yet to take in and appreciate.  And there are a whole bunch of restaurants I have yet to experience.  And now that I’ll have plenty of time to leisurely enjoy a meal, I hope to visit more of these than I was blt to in the past.  There are so many things and events and places I have yet to see, I look forward to retirement enabling me to continue riding around the city and then write about what I see, what I learn, and what I think about as I continue to explore our nation’s capital one ride at a time.

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FBI Headquarters, Where I spent the Last 32 Years

 

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Some of My Bikes that I’ll be Riding for the Next 32 Years

The National Christmas Tree Railroad

Celebrating it’s 25th year, the National Christmas Tree Railroad is again part of the display for this year’s National Christmas Tree and Santa’s Workshop, located in President’s Park on The Ellipse (MAP) in front of The White House.  And during this lunchtime bike ride I stopped by to enjoy the display for a little while.

The railroad is comprised of a group of large-scale model trains which has expanded each year and now include multiple tracks, trains, bridges and buildings.  It is sponsored and constructed by a group of non-paid volunteers who operate the electric trains in an elaborate display around the base of the tree.  It is one of my favorite aspects of the display, and makes a trip to see the National Christmas Tree worth it, even during the daytime.

 

[Click on the photos above to view the full size versions]

As the trains pass by, spectators try tossing coins into some of the train’s cars, much like a wishing well.
The money collected goes towards the cost of maintaining the National Christmas Tree Railroad.

A Delayed Return, But I’m Back

Since last summer I have not posted on this blog as frequently as I usually do.  And there’s a reason for that.  Sadly, that reason was not retirement.  Although I am eligible to retire and could afford to, I have a couple of daughters who cannot afford for me to.  So my current plan is to work for a few more years while I pay for their college tuition.  And then when I actually retire I’ll buy myself another retirement gift like I did when I became eligible to retire last fall.

The reason I have not been riding and posting in this blog is because early last summer I started experiencing intermittent stomach pains, and sometimes nauseau and various other symptoms.  This would occur at different times, but especially when riding a bike.  Neither I nor my medical team were initially able to determine the cause.  Because the symptoms would come and go it was like taking a car to a mechanic because it was making a strange noice, but my the time the mechanic takes it out for a test drive the noise had stopped.  By the time I could go to see one of my doctors the symptoms would subside.  And you can’t fix something when you don’t know what to fix.

We were eventually able to determine that it was a tear in my abdominal wall at one of the seven incision locations made during my previous cancer surgery.  Thankfully, the cancer was not back.    But the tear had become so large that additional surgery became necessary.  So I had surgery again this past fall to repair the problem.  And I am please to be able to say that the surgery was successful.

However, by the time I had recuperated from the surgery and was ready to get back in the saddle, the government incurred a partial shutdown due to a lapse in appropriations.  And I got furloughed, which means I was sent home from work without pay, for what turned out to be the longest shutdown in American history.  As you may know from reading this blog, I have been working for the Federal government for over thirty years.  So this was not my first furlough.  In fact, I have been furloughed more than a half a dozen times.  But this one was the longest, lasting from before last Christmas until January 25th of this year, around five weeks.  It turned out alright in the end, and I received back pay for the work missed during the furlough.  But the furlough time kept me away from my lunchtime bike rides for even more time.

And then when the furlough finally ended, to coin a phrase, “when it rained it poured.”  Since returning to work after the government shutdown, we have been experiencing numerous closings, delays, and early dismissals from work due to severe inclement weather here in the D.C. area.  This further delayed returning to my routine lunchtime bike rides.

It’s been around six months since I was in the habit of riding every day, so I will have to transition back into riding and posting about it on this blog as frequently as I used to.  I got out of shape and gained some weight during “the incident.”  But I have two goals to getting back to the way things used to be.  The first is to get fit again.  And the second is to stop referring to allowing myself to gain weight and get out of shape as “the incident.”

I have adjusted and tuned up my bikes.  So they’re ready.  And I’m now ready too.  Every journey has to start somewhere.  Or in this case, restart.  So it’s time to start riding again.  So please keep an eye out for me on the streets of D.C.  And keep reading this blog.

Worldwide Readership (Almost)

Posted: March 5, 2019 in Miscellaneous

Countries with DCBikeBlogger Readers are in Pink

Based on statistics my online hosting service, WordPress, provides regarding readership, this blog now has readers in 153 of the 196 recognized countries on earth.  In order of the highest number of readers, those countries are:

United States, Hong Kong SAR China, United Kingdom, Canada, India, France, Germany, Italy, Denmark, Australia, Philippines, Netherlands, Brazil, Spain, Russia, Ireland, Japan, Belgium, Romania, Poland, Mexico, Malaysia, Sweden, Switzerland, Pakistan, Singapore, New Zealand, South Korea, Israel, South Africa, Croatia, Bulgaria, Thailand, Indonesia, Ukraine, Turkey, Hungary, Colombia, Taiwan, Finland, Nigeria, United Arab Emirates, Norway, European Union, Chile, Vietnam, Argentina, Greece, Czech Republic, Lebanon, Portugal, Peru, Austria, Slovakia, Malta, Kenya, Bangladesh, Bermuda, Serbia, Egypt, Venezuela, Luxembourg, Saudi Arabia, Lithuania, China, Bahamas, Ecuador, Slovenia, Honduras, Moldova, Puerto Rico, Congo – Kinshasa, Suriname, Armenia, Costa Rica, Nepal, Latvia, Guam, Panama, Bahrain, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Algeria, Cyprus, Albania, Tunisia, Nicaragua, Cambodia, Kuwait, Dominican Republic, Iraq, Bolivia, Qatar, Oman, Georgia, Ghana, Estonia, U.S. Virgin Islands, Macedonia, Sri Lanka, Uruguay, Zimbabwe, Iceland, Palestinian Territories, Jamaica, Belize, Uganda, Ethiopia, Aruba, Cote D’Ivoire, Morocco, Kazakhstan, Belarus, Liberia, Senegal, Jordan, Guatemala, Myanmar (Burma), Guyana, Kyrgyzstan, Libya, Papua New Guinea, Jersey, Gabon, Zambia, Angola, Azerbaijan, Brunei, Barbados, Chad, El Salvador, Laos, Mongolia, Uzbekistan, St. Kitts & Nevis, Malawi, Antigua & Barbuda, Macau SAR China, Rwanda, Faroe Islands, St. Vincent & Grenadines, Seychelles, Trinidad & Tobago, Guernsey, Sudan, Afghanistan, Burkina Faso, Curacao, Montenegro, Mauritius, Timor-Leste, Namibia, Cameroon, and Yemen.

This means my job is not yet done.  There are still 43 countries left until worldwide coverage.

The Spectra Sundial

During this afternoon’s bike ride I came across a large sundial located near the eastern end of Georgetown Waterfront Park (MAP).  But later when I was trying to find out more about it, I learned that there is more to it that I initially thought.  The sundial is actually part of a unique tandem sundial, in which a second vertical sundial of the same declination is located on the outside wall, just below the window where the Spectra sundial is located.

 

This Spectra sundial is part of a unique situation where a tandem sundial of the same declinationis locatedThe time is indicated both indoors and out.

at a window of a nearby building. Together they are referred to as a Spectra sundial.

The Spectra sundial is a custom sundial and functional handcrafted art piece that is designed to be placed indoors on a table by a sunny window or directly on a window sill and enjoyed year round. Unique among sundials, the Spectra sundial earns its name by producing vivid prism beams throughout the day, flooding the room with intense rainbow color as it uses the sun to chart the rhythm of the seasons and accurately tell the time of day.

    
[Click on the photos to view the full-size versions]

An Early Retirement Gift to Myself

I recently completed thirty years of service with the Federal government and became eligible to retire.  And although I am not retiring quite yet, I decided to buy myself an anniversary gift to celebrate the milestone.  And when I saw this bike on eBay I knew what the gift to myself should be.

The newest addition to my collection of bikes is a Surly Disc Trucker.  Surly‘s Long Haul Trucker (LHT) enjoys a reputation as one of the best riding and most value-packed touring bikes out there.  It’s been around long enough to be tested in the real world, in all kinds of places, with all kinds of loads on all kinds of roads.  My 2012 Surly Disc Trucker is an LHT but upgraded with disc brakes to provide a bit more braking performance than the standard rim-brakes that the LHT provides.  Other features of this bike include:  thicker-walled and larger-diameter 4130 CroMoly steel frame tubing than standard sport-touring frames;  a longer wheelbase than you’ll find on a road or hybrid bike, making for maximum stability, comfort and responsive handling under load, and all the braze-ons you could want, from rack mounts to water bottle cage bosses to spare spoke holders.  And the componentry includes:  a Cane Creek 40, 1-1/8˝ threadless black headset;  a Shimano UN-55 square taper interface; a 68 x 118mm bottom bracket;  a Shimano Sora FD-3403 silver front derailleur and Shimano XT RD-M771 rear derailleur; an Andel RSC6, 26/36/48t. square taper interface crankset, and; a Shimano HG-50, 11/12/14/16/18/21/24/28 /32t cassette.  Finally, and with all due respect to Surly’s limited factory available colors of Super Dark Green or Blacktacular, the color of this bike has also been upgraded to custom powder-coated Hi-Vis Neon Yellow.  Combined with matching Deda bar tape and Hi-Vis yellow Ortlieb waterproof front and back panniers, the bike will be almost impossible not to see when I’m out touring.

And going on occasional long-distance bike tours is something I’m looking forward to doing after I retire.  I’ve already planned and mapped out a few different bike tours I will be doing.  One is a tour of the lighthouses of the Outer Banks of North Carolina, which would involve riding from north to south down the coast, and then looping back around on the mainland and ending up back at the northern-most lighthouse again.  I also will being doing a tour of the Great Alleghany Passage and C&O Canal Towpath, a 336-mile route without any cars or motor vehicles that connects Pittsburgh with D.C.  Along the way it also allows riders to take in a number of small historic towns, state parks and other attractions along the way.  A bike tour along the lower coast of Florida on down to Key West is also on my list.

While there are plenty of other bike tours I would also like to do here in the United States, I would also like to do a bike tour across Northern Spain.  The route there is called El Camino de Santiago.  Also referred to in English as The Way of Saint James, it is a network of spiritual pilgrimages leading to the shrine of the apostle Saint James the Greater in the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela in Galicia.

It’s been a long journey to get to the point of being eligible to retire.  And I look forward to finishing this journey one day soon, so that I can start more journeys in the future.

Yesterday was National Cancer Survivors Day. And to celebrate I signed up for the Great Cycling Challenge (GCC). Let me explain.

The concept of the GCC is simple. Participants set a personal riding goal for the month of June, and then get people to sponsor them. And all of the money raised from the sponsors goes toward fighting childhood cancers.

As it states on the front page of this blog, I’m not a fanatical cyclist. I’m just a guy who goes for bike rides. I use my lunch break each day at work, or occasionally on a weekend day off, to go for a ride and discover some of the interesting sites and events in and around D.C. I then write about it in this blog.

But I am now committed to some bike riding that is a little different than my norm. I have pledged to ride 250 miles during my lunchtime tides this month. That puts me on a pace to ride a cumulative distance during this year’s lunchtime bike rides equal to the distance between New York City and Los Angeles.

As a cancer survivor myself I know how scary and difficult such a diagnosis can be. But I was diagnosed as an adult. I can’t begin to imagine how much more scary and difficult it is for children. And despite being a parent, I can’t imagine what it is like for the parents of a diagnosed child. I love my children more than my own life and would rather have cancer myself than see one of my children diagnosed.

Currently, cancer is the biggest killer of children from disease in the United States. Over 15,700 children are diagnosed every year. And tragically, 38 children die of cancer every week.

So I signed up for the GCC to raise money to help these kids and their parents fight back, and to support The Children’s Cancer Research Fund in continuing their work to develop lifesaving treatments and find cures for childhood cancers. And I’m asking you to please go to my personal GCC page and sign up to be one of my sponsors.

I know there are lots of charity options, as well as bills to pay and other demands on your finances. So any amount you can give will be appreciated. All you have to do is go to my GCC personal page, or click on the logo at the top of this post, to donate using a credit card or PayPal. And like the lack of a minimum or maximum number of miles participants can ride, there is no minimum or maximum to the donations.

Anything you can give will help keep me motivated. But more importantly, it will help the kids. And I can’t think of a better was to celebrate being cancer free than do something to help kids with cancer.

Update:  Through the Great Cycle Challenge and other events, the Children’s Cancer Research Fund raised a total of $13.1 million in fiscal year 2018.  This money goes to support to the brightest scientists whose ideas are making the greatest impact for children with cancer.  The fund also supports vital family services across the country and advocates for childhood cancer education and awareness to surround families with community and, ultimately, hope.  Thank you for your support.

Walking a Labyrinth for World Labyrinth Day

Starting in 2009, The Labyrinth Society designated the first Saturday in May, which this year falls on May 5th, as World Labyrinth Day.  And although that is not until tomorrow, during today’s bike ride I decided to stop and walk the labyrinth located in the sanctuary of The Church of The Epiphany, which is open to the public Monday through Friday from 10:00am until 3:00pm.

At different times, the practice of walking a labyrinth has been associated with pilgrimages and pagan rituals.  More recently however, labyrinths have popped up in modern spirituality for contemplation and as prayer.  People walk a labyrinth for as many reasons as the number of people who walk one, including centering, feeling grounded, as prayer, as meditation, or as a great way to just unwind and clear your mind.

If you would like to walk a labyrinth tomorrow to celebrate World Labyrinth Day, there are nine labyrinths here in D.C., and more than a dozen more now exist within a ten-mile radius of the city.  Of these, there are at least a half a dozen outdoor labyrinths that are open to the public, and most are open daily from sunrise to sunset or shortly thereafter.

One of a few local labyrinths located outdoors and available to the public, the Georgetown Waterfront Park Labyrinth provides a means to walk a labyrinth in a scenic location.  It is located at the southern end of 33rd Street (MAP) in northwest D.C.’s Georgetown neighborhood.

The American Psychological Association also has a labyrinth on the green rooftop of their building at 10 G Street (MAP), near Union Station in northeast D.C.’s NoMa neighborhood.  The 42-foot labyrinth features trellises, plantings, tables, a journal, and a finger labyrinth that you can “walk” with your fingers—a good option for those with ambulatory issues. It is open Monday through Friday from 7:00am to 7:00pm.  You can sign in at the building’s security desk to go up to the roof, or call Holly Siprelle (202-336-5519) to arrange a guided walk.

There is also an outdoor labyrinth that is available to the public at Barton Park, located across the river at the corner of North Barton and 10th Streets (MAP) in Arlington, Virginia.  Originally part of the former Northern Virginia Whitman-Walker Clinic’s healing garden, the 37-foot labyrinth of precast stone and pavers went into storage when that branch of the clinic closed.  It was later moved to Barton Park in late 2013.

Set among old pines and other trees, St. Aidan’s Episcopal Church in Alexandria, Virginia, also has a public labyrinth.  Located at 8531 Riverside Road (MAP), the 40-foot labyrinth is made of rubber mulch with white stones outlining the path and is set near a memorial garden with benches. At the nearby Art at the Center, parishioner Kathryn Horn Coneway offers workshops on making finger labyrinths from clay.

The city of Bethesda’s St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, located at 6030 Grosvenor Lane (MAP), has a 62-foot labyrinth made from turf and pavers, as well as a 36-by-36-inch Plexiglas finger labyrinth, available to the public.  At this labyrinth, a journal to record your thoughts is available, and is located under the bench.

The University of Maryland’s Garden of Reflection and Remembrance, located at 7600 Baltimore Avenue in College Park (MAP), also has a labyrinth adjacent to the campus chapel. Guided walks, yoga sessions, and special events are regularly scheduled. Benches, trees, and water elements help visitors connect with nature.

If you want to walk a labyrinth, but these options are not readily available to you, I encourage you to find one that is.  To find others labyrinths here in the D.C. area, or anywhere else in the world, just use the Labyrinth Society’s online worldwide labyrinth locater.  And if there is not a labyrinth near you, there are also finger labyrinths now available as a smartphone app.  Just check the Google Store or iTunes.

         
[Click on the photos to view the full-size versions]