This last week I was back in Washington DC. Alexandra wanted to go to a graduate school seminar so she talked me into a road trip to one of our favorite cities. It is an easy and beautiful drive up Interstate 81 and we stayed with my cousin in her townhouse which has a view of the Capitol. Since we were just in DC last summer (you can read about our visit here) we didn’t have a big agenda, just a chance to relax and revisit our favorite sites.
The Washington Monument is repaired and open again after suffering earthquake damage so we started our tour there. As we stood next to this grand momument, encircled with flags we could see the World War II memorial , the reflecting pool and then finally the Lincoln Memorial. So our next stop was to rent bicycles and have a leisurely ride down to visit Lincoln. He was a great spiritual master; some even say an avatar, who came to make changes in our world when humanity desperately needed to change. With few words but great presence he got the job done and his country moved toward having greater equality for everyone. It has taken awhile, we aren’t totally there but Lincoln definitely began to right a great wrong.
I’ve been to DC many times but have never been to the Jefferson Memorial so that was the next stop. Last year I visited Thomas Jefferson’s library in the Library of Congress and have been to his home, Monticello, many times. My first mystical experience was standing on his land and ever since I’ve had a special admiration for this great man. Like Lincoln he was a great spiritual master. He changed the world with the Declaration on Independence which he wrote in one night at age 33 a sure sign it was divine inspiration.
I happily turned in my bike, I’m a walker not a biker, and we headed to The National Gallery of Art which is right next to the Natural History Museum. Alexandra loves Thomas Cole’s The Voyage of Life, four large paintings depicting a man in a boat with an angel facing life’s lessons. I love everything there and it brings back happy memories of many visits when I was a child. My father is an amateur painter so all vacations revolved around visiting art museums. Currently there is a special exhibit of paintings by Andrew Wyeth, one of America’s greatest artists. His prints hung in the living room of my childhood home and I’m particularly drawn to his stark and yet detailed style. It was a poignant moment for me because the first room was paintings of the Olson Farm. Here I was in a room surrounded by the words “Olson Farm” when all summer my life has been taken up by the fate of my family’s farm, the Olson Farm in Minnesota, handed down in my family for the last 117 years.
The rest of my time I spent wandering the galleries seeing the paintings I know and love so well until I found myself in the central dome with Mercury also known as the great Egyptian god Thoth (read my post on Thoth here). Standing on a giant green marble fountain, shaped like a chalice, Mercury is holding a caduceus in one hand and pointing to heaven with the other. I asked Mercury for help and to protect the land that Carl Olson and six generations have loved so much.
The next road over from where I live is called Light Pink, such a strange name but is my everyday connection to the National Gallery of Art. On Light Pink Road was the quarry where the pink marble that built the National Gallery of Art was cut. The crystalline stone from my little part of the world is now a magnificent home for great art presided over by our very own Mercury.