Reporting on pedestrian life in the D.C. area

Picture of the day: A small bird descends into the Rosslyn Metro

December 1, 2011 - 12:44 PM
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Tweet tweetly-tweet. (Photo: John Hendel)

The idea of tweets on the Metro normally brings to mind all the #WMATA rage on Twitter. But yesterday as I journeyed to the GOVGreen conference, I discovered an entirely different form of Metro tweeting — a small bird, waiting alone beside me on the Rosslyn Metro platform.

The little bird was sitting casually and kept its distance from the tracks. I approached my fellow commuter cautiously. Would my presence scare it away? I snapped a photo and then leaned in closer. The bird hopped back a few feet. As I continued to study it, the avian creature briefly took flight into the air before landing farther down on the platform and hopping frenetically.

How did the bird descend into the depths of this Metro station? I imagined it must have flown down the escalator shaft ... but this was Rosslyn. Its escalators are some of the longest in town, and this bird and I were deep under the Earth. We were about 100 feet below street level just then, 1 p.m. on a Wednesday afternoon.

But why not, I figured. Plants grow in the WMATA depths, after all. Have you ever seen little birds hopping around in your Metro stations? Perhaps this tweeting commuter was simply cold out in the northern Virginia air and sought solace underground.

In other non-bird news, the Metro board is today discussing much more depressing topics — like how, when, and in what ways to raise fares to cover the transit agency's budget shortfall. I imagine some of you have seen some rabid tweeting on the topic. Ideas so far today include raising the bus fare by around 10 cents and possibly charging more for parking. Luckily theboard members seem to realize that Metro riders don't really like peak-of-the-peak charges. Let's hope something resembling a factual, formal proposal emerges from this discussion soon, although I can't imagine it'll be that cheering to Metro riders. The board also notes that the number of Metro riders has been dropping steadily in the last couple years.

Yesterday at least, Metro had one more commuter in the form of a little bird, which didn't even have to pay for the ride. Here, in all its winged glory, is yet another  of our many Metro curiosities. In a way, perhaps, the bird is a symbol for all Metro riders, unsure of how exactly they found themselves down below the Earth, unsure of how and when they can escape, and subject to forces (like the Metro board, fare hikes, train delays, and their fellow commuters) far beyond their control ... and powerless to change anything despite constant tweeting. I hope the small, helpless animal flew clear of any approaching trains.

Chocolate strawberries
Imagine what this bird must be thinking. (Photo: John Hendel)
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