Washington in Bloom
smw, slt has packed up the big bags and moved on for a longer term again. This time we’re off to Papua New Guinea where we expect to be working for a year. This is going to be an interesting assignment for me – new and different context and part of the world for me to work in, also a new role as head of mission. As usual, this will remain a personal blog of the world as seen through my eyes…so more about PNG if, as and when appropriate. For now, my farewell to the land of my birth comes in the form of a photographic essay of my lovely final week there, spent in Washington, DC. Since many of my international friends have never been to the US or DC, I enjoyed taking shots of the city in its springtime glory. DC is a lovely city to visit – excellent free museums you can wander in and out of at will, grand monuments to the many of the great thinkers and founders of the American experiment, and lots of public green space around the mall and monuments. I’ve tried to show some of this, along with the occasional shot of me or my family, some of whom also came down to DC while I was there. Enjoy the shots – I’ll throw in the occasional caption, but I’ve nothing else to really add in terms of text for now. Peace, health, companionship to us all in the coming year.
….this year, one understands, was the 100th anniversary of DC’s famous cherry trees being donated by the nation of Japan. As it happens my visit was perfectly timed to see the trees go from bud to full bloom, thanks to several days of glorious warm sunny weather. Below it’s me enjoying brunch with my little cousin twice-removed, Adair — he’s Amalie & Bryan’s son and they drove down from Baltimore for a really great brunch with me, my mother & brother, and my cousin Maria. Thanks, guys :-).
The Washington Monument is the tallest building in the District of Columbia (and building codes will keep it so), and it’s therefore fairly omnipresent and makes a good focus for — too many, I know… — photos.
From the FDR Memorial.
…above, taken earlier in the week; below, about five days later once the trees had burst into full bloom. That’s the Jefferson Monument, by the way, my personal favorite both because I think it’s the most graceful of the three biggest & oldest monuments, and also because Jefferson was such a great philosopher of democracy, and also a conflicted representative of the ideals he represented: a committed Democrat who had slaves and agreed to the original language of the constitution which gave slaves no rights whatsoever but counted them as partial people for the distribution of political power in the new system (for allocating seats in the House of Representative, if my memory of history serves correctly…)
Above, from the Martin Luther King, Jr Memorial; below, me in a particpatory art installation on display at the (fantastic, free) Hischorn Gallery.
One of the more unusual monuments is Theordore Roosevelt National Memorial Island, to which I went both in honor of the man who launched our national park system and was the first political leader to recognize the importance, in a nation clearly growing at a very rapid rate, of setting aside open space for future generations to enjoy and for the protection of our natural heritage…and also to remind myself that Republicans have not always been as willfully ignorant, greedy, and dishonest as they seem now to have become. Below are two shots taken from the island; one shows the Watergate Hotel (yes, site of that infamous incident from which so many later government scandals around the world have drawn their name) as well as the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts (built to honor JFK of course).
A corner of the old executive office building, some shiny memorial column, and a corner of the mall all on a sunny late afternoon; below another shot of the gables and turrets of the old executive office building.
A farewell shot of the capitol dome behind the Washington monument. May American politics find a measure of sanity and civility while I’m away.