Mike and I’s seven year anniversary is tomorrow. Seven years is an incredibly long time – especially when you take into consideration that I’m only 23. I’ll write a mushy post about what those seven years have meant for me tomorrow, but for today I thought I’d share how Mike and I enjoyed an early celebration on Saturday, knocking a few more items off my 213 in 2013 list.
The weather in D.C. has been completely unpredictable lately, as demonstrated by the fact that on Saturday it was almost 60 degrees and sunny and today it’s freezing cold with a solid inch or two of snow on the ground. So, with the sunshine on our side, we hopped into the car and made our way towards Eastern Market in Capitol Hill, D.C.’s oldest farmers’ market full of fresh food, beautiful flowers and a diverse group of artists and crafters.
Growing up, my mom used to drag me to farmers’ markets all of the time. I only ever went for the oversized bags of kettle corn that would keep me occupied and happy while my mom spent hours traipsing through the tents, fawning over how beautiful the sunflowers were or how ripe the tomatoes looked. I didn’t realize how much I loved those early, sunny Saturday mornings at the market with my mom until we moved away and stopped going.
I wish I could say that at a young age I appreciated all of the things that make a farmers market so wonderful. The old ladies sitting on their rocking chairs as they humbly gloat about how delicious their homemade jams are. Or the time-weathered man with a pipe hanging out of his mouth, carving something out of wood as he glances up at you out of one eye while you peruse his shop, admiring all of the beautiful woodwork that was created with his own two hands. Or the husband and wife who proudly grow their own overly ripe strawberries and herb garden filled with basil, mint, thyme and cilantro.
I may not have fully appreciated all of the hard work and gentle care of a person’s craft as a child, but I certainly do now. Mike and I spent a few hours walking along the tents, stopping in each one to admire everything from homemade soaps to handmade jewelry to stunning photography. I especially love being able to talk with each of the artists and learn more about their work and how they got started. Some have been doing this their entire lives while others have found their passion for the first time in decades.
Usually I tell them how beautiful their work is, flip over the price tag and cringe, wishing I could afford to support them in their endeavors. Being a local artist is a tough gig, but so is being a broke college student. Luckily, now that I have a job and a paycheck rolling in every two weeks, I can finally afford to fork over a “few” bucks for a one-of-a-kind original piece of art.
After stopping in a few tents, admiring paintings made from fabric and old books turned into purses and accessories, I stumbled upon a tent for a photographer, Joe Shymanski, who takes stunning photos of D.C. architecture. The photos captured the spirit and attitude of Washington, D.C. perfectly and I knew immediately I wanted to take home a print (or two) of his. So I flipped through the various photographs and stumbled upon two that immediately caught my eye and my heart. Somehow through the lens of his camera, he had seen D.C. as I do – history bathed in beauty; a city that continues to be reborn.
He wrapped up the prints, thanked me for my purchases and Mike and I grabbed a ridiculously good hot pretzel and strawberry lemonade before heading out to Chinatown for a delicious happy hour at La Tasca to enjoy some empanadas and blackberry mango sangria.
We finished the day sprawled out on an oversized blanket near the waterfront in Georgetown, soaking up the last few rays of sun curled up in each other’s arms. I couldn’t have dreamt up a better way to spend a Saturday, even if I tried. As Mike always likes to say… “it’s the little things, Niki.”