It's a relief this week not to feel compelled to talk of war, or plans for war, or the aftermath of war.

Even though the three-week assault on Saddam will change the world in profound and incomprehensible ways, the political earthquake will occur in human hearts, not in urban gunfights.

With hostilities all but done, we in America again will look at ourselves. As Congress filters back into town, Washington will return to its usual snarling and petty self.

Political operatives will say delightfully venomous things about their foes and staffers will beg reporters to make a big deal of subcommittee mark-ups, rules disputes and other matters so arcane that nobody truly cares about them.

Washington, an old hand once told me, is a place where the urgent overwhelms the important. Well, that can wait. Spring has granted a brief and blessed pause to the normal order of things a chance, today, literally to smell the roses in the capital of the free world.

So no politics, for now. It's sunny and bright. The kids want to play and so do I.

So enjoy the respite. We've all earned it.