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It's been a long week and it'd be lovely to sleep in longer. That said, it's Saturday morning the 19th of April. A good day to meet neighbors!

Picnic hamper packed and ready.

Eastern Redbud (Cercis Canadensis).  Remember this tree:

I do love the DC transit system generally speaking; the DC Metrorail on the weekend can be a bit trying. Single tracking was in effect on the Red Line. There was a Washington Nationals game gearing up and then the Easter weekend tourists.  Metrorail trains were packed and at the Metro Center transfer point, it was only on the 4th try that assertively squeezing onto a Blue Line train to Smithsonian Station was possible. In other words, I was about 25 minutes late.  

While mimi and webgenie's numbers were known to me and I'd notified them of my delay, I hadn't gotten numbers for the other Kossacks joining us. We hadn't met yet, and well, it seemed an awkward request to make. I'm going to rethink this stance because having a way to contact on the fly would have been helpful.

I must say that it was good to arrive on the National Mall for the first time this spring. This is the view as you look down the Mall toward the US Capitol.

This boy and, likely, his dad happened to be in the view of mimi's camera lens but, well, I found it fortuitously apt, as we all need a hand sometime, to bring us in, reinforce our belonging and/or keep us connected.  Would that some folks in the yonder Capitol building remember and welcome this marker of our shared humanity.
Upon arriving at the picnic location, I held a yard long piece of orange fabric I'd purchased to allow Kossacks to spot me more easily.  Never one for the spotlight, I was horrified by being...spotlight.  But it worked!  After about 5 minutes, Edward Adams approached me. Yay! Koscontact of the most righteous kind!  

I knew webgenie was several trains behind me. And like a beacon, the Great-Orange-Yard-O-Cloth again worked like a charm. She found us with no problem. And she gave me a present! webgenie is thoughtful like that. Always thinking of something that might ease an aspect of someone's life. Thanks, friend.

A few minutes after that we committed to a picnic spot.

Our welcoming picnic shade tree offered us dappled sunlight through it's far reaching canopy and new leaves.
This was our view from behind.
Smithsonian Castle which houses the institutions administrative offices.
This, our view to my left.
Washington Monument under whose relative shadow, we picnicked in the shared backyard of a nation.
We began spreading our tablecloth and working our way past introductions and small talk. We were starting to unpack our foodstuffs. And just then, mimi and Sasha arrived!

And then the splendor already beginning, truly began. Do you believe me?  Let me show you.

Who in the world...

is this?!

There was splendor in terms of food, yes, of course:

Yummy cheese, crackers and grapes that webgenie felt like eating and sharing today. Thanks webgenie! Excellent choices.
NinthElegy's made on the mall salad.  

This yum courtesy of Edward Adams who shared with us what he thought we might enjoy this day. We did.

Chicken Tenders shared by Edward Adams.

We dig in. Yes, it was all delicious! We had enough for you! Please join us next time!

Our dessert course! Delectable? Ohhh, very.

Peer closely, friends, at this cake-wonderful goodness mimi made to share with us. OMG, it was good! Sour cherries, almonds, apricot preserves and her magic, all in some sort of short pastry. I'm in HOT pursuit of THAT recipe!

NinthElegy's triple chocolate cuppies with eastern redbud blossoms

May I comment here, that there were no dish signups.  We just brought what we felt like sharing with each other and voila! Total splendor!  

There was splendor, too, in terms of we who gathered. So much to say to one another!  The beginning of our stories to share.  Oh we'll get around to the serious discussions and the activism and being the change we wish see, and/but today was about reconnecting, meeting new neighbors, sharing food together and beginning something ridiculously good.  

This is webgenie.  We met a few years ago at a meetup held at Union Station before she even moved to the area. We've become good friends since then.

webgenie.  Rock on, sister.
This is mimi.  We met at a meetup two years ago. We've not kept up with one another, but we will now! mimi is responsible for almost all of the beautiful pictures in this diary and has been so supportive and helpful in getting DC Kossacks off and running.  She is hosting a meetup for peregrine kate on Saturday April 26.  Of course you're invited!
Mimi and Sasha
Sasha, mimi's wozzle! This sweetie is so calm, gentle and well-behaved. She attracted passerby's with her friendly disposition.  

Sasha enjoying her bone shaped like a Danish!  Who knew!

This is Kossack Edward Adams. He contacted me a few weeks ago wanting to join DC Kossacks. So glad you did.

I think that's the Museum of Natural History behind him.
We were four people and a dog, sitting on the actual ground, sharing a meal and our time, along with ideas and experiences in a real and meaningful way with one another.  I genuinely loved every minute of this first conversation among new neighbors. I think we all did. I'd wager Kossack meet-ups are generally like this.

Edward Adams kicked his shoes off by the end.

Next time we will do a group picture. I solemnly promise, navajo! (Inclusion in pictures at DC Kossacks meetups are not mandatory.  Please don't let that stop you from joining us!)

Our DC Kossacks inaugural picnic was open-ended, and four hours flew by before next obligations pressed us in our various directions. mimi, Edward Adams, webgenie, Sasha, it was lovely. I cannot wait to do this again.

If you, dear reader, have never met your local Kossack neighbors, you simply, absolutely, unequivocally, must. Without delay. Do not quibble.  Do not fuss. Do not make it too complicated or perfect.  This is about connecting with your neighbors.   When you do connect, you will understand.  And you too will have splendor wherever it is that you meet one another. Contact navajo or the Connect! Unite! Act! group and find out the closest Daily Kos group to you. If you cannot get there easily, get their help in starting a chapter in your immediate area.

Splendor on the grass, indeed.

DC Kossacks will regularly meet the third Saturday of each month at noon.  May 17 is the next gathering.  Location TBD.  Please plan to join us next time, or the time after that, etc.  RSVP to NinthElegy to attend a meetup or to join the DC Kossacks group on Daily Kos.

DC Kossacks?  Just...yes.  

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