Before I Die…

Last night, N and I were wandering around Logan Circle, skipping out on our weekly kickball commitment (sorry, Zias!). Not that we are that much of a contribution to the team anyway…

While wandering, we ate delicious gelato at Pitango – in fact, it was less “gelato-y” and more just a creamy, sticky dessert with some of the purest flavor I’ve ever tasted. Case in point: I had the cafe espresso flavor, and given my heightened sensitivity to caffeine, I couldn’t fall asleep until after midnight. That’s some real flavor right there – espresso built right in!

Anyway. We wandered right into a new art installation titled ‘Before I Die.’ We didn’t know it was there until we passed by it across the street, and apparently neither did many of the other passerby. It was wonderful to see the different slices of DC folk notice the installation, pause in their walking, cross the street, and stand for a few minutes (or longer) just taking it all in.

Before I Die 1

The installation is a blank chalkboard with the words “before I die” written across the top and space for anyone to come and complete the statement. People have done just that, in all different style of handwriting, languages, level of seriousness, and colors of chalk.

There are better-quality pictures of the wall in the Washington Post article about the installation, but I had to have a few personal shots for myself. In particular, I wanted to capture my favorite one: “to love without fear.”

Before I Die 2

N and I both enjoyed the statements that were more specific versus the general ones. For example, we preferred “learn to make my grandmother’s cheesecake” to “travel the world.” Though, the point of the installation is to validate and encourage everyone’s own personal expression of what is most important to them, and to prompt the viewer’s own personal reaction.

Before I Die 3

We didn’t write on the wall, but as we stood there reading, other passerby did (as you can see in the picture of an anonymous but well-dressed woman writing her personal statement). It looked as though the wall had been erased/washed once or twice before, which makes total sense when we saw about 15 people write on it in the 15 minutes we stood there, and the wall has been up since Sunday.

It got me thinking about my own “before I die…” statement. If I had the courage to write on that wall, what would I have written? What would you write?

With that, happy Friday! And go check out the installation for yourself – it’s at 14th and Q.


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