Through an urban mirror

Listening, maybe it’s a result of living so long in a bucolic university city, but I’ve always been fascinated with urban environments.

Last week my travels took me to Bethesda, Md., where my daughter lives. Bethesda is a Washington, D.C. beltway satellite. And over the past two decades it has exploded in glass-and-steel towers.

For all of its growing pains, though, Bethesda remains a fairly compact community (not a city, oddly it’s part of unincorporated Montgomery County) with a wonderful night life, a lively arts scene and quite a bit off mixed use development squeezed into a fairly small area.

And yes, traffic notwithstanding, it struck me as a quite walkable-bikeable town.

Fairly easy to navigate on foot because all of its components appear to be in fairly close proximity.

Plus it’s a trail town. The Capital Crescent Trail begins in Bethesda and runs along the Potomac River to George Town. The C&O Canal Trail parallels the CC Trail for a space, and there are other greenway connections as well. One of the things I love about the D.C area is that it is a joy to see on a cycle.

Street art is everywhere.

To get into the Metro you walk past falling water, art deco fixtures and colorful murals.

And strolling down the street you can never be quite sure if you are outside looking in or inside looking out.

Did I mention it’s got a lively night scene? Plus free transportation from one restaurant to another bar, or from this cafe to that gallery.

Listen, I’m a sucker for reflections. I love to photograph images bouncing off images bouncing off images. And Bethesda is just one reflection atop another atop another….

A place to ponder the imponderables.

And goggle the geography of the built environment.

And take photos of myself taking photos of myself taking photos…

On reflection, not a bad place to spend three days reflecting on life, the universe and everything.

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