Wednesday, September 24, 2008
Four Days in the Capital of the United States
It was a gift from Joel Barker: Let's go to DC!
We spent four days there under perfect skies, among skimpy crowds, spreading our time from the sublime (The Lincoln Memorial) to the delightful (A Smithsonian exhibit chronicling Jim Henson's work and the life of the Muppets). All recommended. Only the most calcified heart would not be moved by the power and simplicity of the Viet Nam War Memorial. Only the most disinterested citizen would not recommit to more involvement in the life and health of the the country after seeing the Magna Carta, the Declaration of Independence, and the Constitution in the National Archives.
The atmospheric space devoted to the Wright Brothers and their accomplishments (Smithsonian Air and Space Museum) shows not only the separate and distinct personalities of the siblings but also their exquisite work as bicycle makers and their intentional, scientific approach to unlocking the secrets of flight. Anyone interested in developing something better from something less can benefit from a study of the Wrights.
Inscribed on one wall of the Lincoln Memorial is, of course, the Gettysburg Address, long held as a stunning example of writing. On the opposite wall is the text of his second inaugural address. Less known, just as compelling. The man could write, and he could write from his personal pain through his love of his country.
Seeing these sorts of things is a remarkably inexpensive project, once you're there. We walked. Everywhere. If you'd rather not do that but don't care for the bus route, you can take a Segway tour. All the Smithsonian is free admission; likewise the National Gallery of Art, the Archives, and the Museum of Natural History. (The latter received heavy lobbying from the dinosaur interests, evidently. They're everywhere!)
More specifics about the bass allusions in the next post, next week.
For now, start looking for bargain fares.
(note: I just discovered you can click on the images to get a closer view. The Segways are worth it.)