I have had times where it is difficult to write a blog....usually because of the subject matter not so much to say about the environment around it. I often want to convey a feeling or stimulate a thought. I don't want to just sound like a travel book. There are plenty of those . I will be honest....this blog maybe the most difficult to write at this time.
We are living in very tumultuous - confusing - disheartening - up lifting - advanced - divisive - scary - "we can come together" - we are still - "We the People....." times. As I write this on October 25th the midterm elections are 11 days away. We are awash with with ads from every angle and political party - some true others so blatantly misleading it is sad. BUT - with that being said - this is NOT a political blog. I am only going to share my "One Day on the Washington Mall". I want to convey my reverence and awe and appreciation for that. Although some of the pictures and words are a little more than one day. We have a history that is shared by us and with the world when they come to DC. With a little bit of effort - maybe we all can appreciate the story in ALL of its glory and gory. We are not perfect as a people or as a Government. We are actually - quite messy. But if we show our "decency" along with our "offensiveness" and be indebted for not just the sacrifices but for the foresight of those who strive to share our story - maybe - just maybe we can all find a way to appreciate this place we call the United States of America.
I am going to share my visit.........
Lets start with this......WASHINGTON DC TRAFFIC IS HORRENDOUS !!!!! I am from the Denver area and the issues that we have - which are ridiculous - are magnified 10-fold in DC. So for those of you visiting - here is a hint - take the Metro if you can.
The system is simple - safe (always be careful you are in a big city) but amazingly manageable.
The lines are: Red, Orange. Blue, Green,Yellow and Silver. They flow into the suburbs in all directions and transfer stations are easy to follow. For the most part in the platform areas one side goes one direction the other side...the other. It is actually pretty difficult to get lost and at some point they all lead to the city center where you can change and catch a ride to your point of interest. I came in from the Medical Center at the NIH on the Red Line. I rode to the Metro Center - transferred to the Blue line and excited at the Smithsonian. It took about 33 minutes.....which by car may have been over an hour and then trying to find a parking space..The Metro is .fabulous. Walking maybe 200 yards - I entered the Smithsonian Castle.
The Smithsonian Castle. Why the Castle.......I read a fun book by Steve Berry called "The Lost Order". Berry does a remarkable job of weaving factual elements of history into a fictional adventure-mystery-action novel. He piqued my interest in James Smithson - who had never been to America but through his final wishes left over $500,000 to establish the Smithsonian Institute back in the mid-1800's. Smithson was a chemist and gentleman scientist. The institute was dedicated to collecting and disseminating information and knowledge for all. Wow -
I won't tell the rest of the story - but he died in Genoa Italy and was buried in a grave outside of town. As the town grew - they needed to move the cemetery. Alexander Graham Bell learned of this and through - sometimes questionable means - had the body brought to the United States and placed in the Castle.
The story becomes even more suspenseful when a fire of "mysterious origin" broke out in 1865 destroying much of his writings and collections that were there. Although it is now believed it was from a stove that had been improperly installed......Steve Berry does a fabulous job weaving history with questions into his tale.
I could go on but you should get the book and enjoy the story.
After paying my respects.....I left the Castle and made my way down the mall.
a It was an absolutely beautiful October day. What was even better - I have been to DC quite a bit - as I guess many of you have - but what was missing this day was obvious - PEOPLE and HEAT. It wasn't empty of tourists or tourist buses but there were so few compared to the high season. It was spectacular to be able to take pictures and walk and enjoy the moments. NEXT ........quick stop at the Hirshhorn Sculpture Garden.
There was a museum I had never been to. It was the Native American Museum....I have been there now and it was well worth it.
Coming from Colorado and the Southwestern United States with the Dakota's, Wyoming, New Mexico, Utah and Arizona we encounter a lot of Native American art, artifacts, jewelry, sculptures and creations. But to see a museum that includes cultures that stretch from the tip of South America to the far reaches of Canada and Alaska and from the Atlantice to the Pacific.....magnificent collections and history. Much of the history tragic .....but as they will tell you .....they are still here.
To begin with - the architecture is astounding. There are no right angles in the building. It flows. Every inch of it flows. Inside as well as outside. You feel as if you are in nature...in a moving stream with the sky above you. This is the ceiling looking up from the center floor. it reminded me of ascension into the heavens.
The artifacts and art are a collection from the bottom to the top of this side of the globe. Indigenous peoples who lived here thousands of years before the Europeans arrived and colonized the Americas. Beauty in nature, form and use.
This has become a longer blog than I intended but it was such an amazing day.......what I will continue with on my next blog is my visit to the Botanic Gardens and the rest of the day.....but I want to finish this one and my visit to this museum with this:
This is a Grandfather Rock. If you can read the inscription - the Cheyenne believed that Grandfather Rocks were the oldest beings on the planet. Surrounding the museum there are forty of them. The one shown is dedicated to Daniel Inouye - Senator from Hawaii who served from 1963 until 2013 when he passed away. This rock was dedicated to him.
As a grandfather myself -I love this. I never knew this about large rocks..but now I believe there is no greater honor than to be considered and represented by a rock. I am honored.
What a great morning !!!!!!
Travel safe - travel well !
BK Travel Tips
To enjoy travel and see the world and often yourself as if for the first time and with with the eyes of a young child.