Thursday, July 15, 2010


I walked from the Washington monument to the Lincoln Memorial over the weekend. At the monument it was a good day to go because it wasn’t very hot, 88 tops, and there was a Really strong breeze, especially at the top of the hill. I asked someone to take my picture and I just wanted a reminder but they wanted just so with the Monument in the back, the flags on the side, and the sun not behind me. Well maybe the sun idea is a good one. I walked via the WW II memorial, and asked a park ranger to take my picture there. I think he said the state pillars were arranged by region, because they seemed sort of random. I walked up to the Lincoln Memorial along the reflecting pool, which is dirtier than I remember, with all the geese. Still a nice walk. Half the people were sitting on the steps, so I wove among them. The statue seemed very familiar though I hadn’t seen it since I was 11 more than twenty years ago. Maybe you know this historical tidbit, though I didn’t: on Wikipedia “historian Gerald Prokopowicz writes that, while it is not clear that sculptor Daniel Chester French intended Lincoln's hands to be formed into sign language versions of his initials, it is possible that French did intend it, because he was familiar with American Sign Language, and [Lincoln’s connection with Gallaudet University].” The room to the side with the Gettysburg Address was also familiar, and I peeked around the columns to get a better picture. The columns have deep channels that from a distance look much more like thin lines making the familiar ionic shape. The reason I say this is that I have an excuse for being clumsy. When I was 11, I had a nervous tendency to swing anything around that I was carrying. This included my camera. It connected with that pillar as I was thinking deep and patriotic thoughts, and crumpled. Now I see how it could have got caught in a groove.

From this I was broken of the habit of swinging things, but still have vestiges of nervous energy such as drumming my fingers and getting my neck so stiff I can barely do Yoga. Another thing I gained from that was that either through thinking so hard while swinging my camera, or to reassure myself afterward that something good would come out of difficulty, I memorized most of the Gettysburg address. I forgot how much I love the spoken word and songs. I was there at 4:30 and saw a sign that they were going to have the Martin Luther King speech at 5, so I too sat on the steps to see who would do it. A small Park ranger came out and he gave an intro but it was a recording for the actual speech. I knew only parts of it. The actual speech had more that I had forgotten. It mentioned so many parts of Americana such as the Declaration of Independence and patriotic songs, that all at some point referred to freedom and equality for all people. I guess that going back the same way, I was a little bit inspired, because I was humming that song, ‘My Country Tis of Thee’ with its reference to ‘Let freedom ring.’ Music is powerful and I also thought of ‘America the Beautiful’ because someone just told me that it says and “mend thine ev’ry flaw.”

I am not so enamored of this city right now, heat is corresponding with a low mood. I do not usually mind the subway but it is hard to go from an area with very few people to being squished up with many and staring at everyone’s shoes, and being short, reaching the hand holds. I am getting infected with a spirit of impatience, that makes me try to go through the turnstile as fast as possible, and tense when I have to ask for help with my card. I am not on a roll, I am not overflowing with energy or ideas. I go slowly up the escalator. So it is a combination of nervousness and lethargy. I will try to find things to do to keep busy, and report back on what helps with fatigue especially. I think I will go to bed actually and forget my troubles.

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