It was finally a decent enough day to get out for a walk. It's been two weeks since my husband and I both put up with this cold/flu thing, and it's been raining since Monday. But when we reached the Mall, it looked like some weird app game we play on the iPad. The place was empty and everything was closed. We had driven through the Mall during the dreary, government shutdown. But walking through it on a Sunday afternoon, when there are always a lot of people visiting, walking, running, and playing football, with very little in sight was surreal. Sadly, the vendors who typically populate the streets and serve refreshments to the throngs of guests, visitors, and locals alike may be impacted the most. It was eerily silent as the carousel sat motionless. The gardens were not manicured, and the barricades were up in front of everything. I was surprised the gardens near the Smithsonian Castle were open. On the way back we passed through the botanical garden and there was a beautiful yellow iris in bloom. It was very unexpected and seemed out of place, but it was such a welcome contrast after a walk like this one.