Posted by: scintillatingspeck | June 10, 2014

Washington, DC.

Sometimes there is just the sheer joy of exploring new lands with my little girl.  We are relishing our gypsy-hood.  Today Jen dropped us off at the end of the Metro and we made our way to the National Mall.  We had a good dousing with a sudden rain shower as we emerged into Washington.  We laughed and scurried under a big tent set up on the Mall, looking at the Washington Monument on one end and the mist-shrouded Capitol building on the other.  (If only the debacles contained therein could vanish into the mist.)

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We visited three museums, all part of the Smithsonian:  the Museum of American History, the Museum of Natural History, and the Museum of the American Indian.  Favorite exhibits at the natural history museum were Mammals, Human Origins, and Geology, Gems, and Minerals.  We saw the Hope diamond, the largest blue diamond in the world.  (Lily was underwhelmed; she wanted it to be bigger.  She was much more impressed with the small-boulder-sized topaz we saw.)

After several hours of experiencing the noise and the crowds I started to go into the beginnings of panic mode, so I explained to Lily that we needed to leave so I could take care of myself.  She was most agreeable with this plan.  I had had some foresight, at least, to pack some snacks, which helped somewhat, although I felt choked up with missing the Valley and my friends as a result (our friend Elena had gifted us some homemade, grain-and-sugar-free, amazing crackers and some local goat cheese, and the love was palpable through the food as we sat there in a faraway city).

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We walked outside for a while, which was a welcome experience, and made our way to the Museum of the American Indian.  The cafe there serves Native specialties from throughout the Americas.  Lily had a buffalo cheeseburger and I had buffalo chili.  It was a splurge; we will be doing very little cafe/restaurant eating on this trip, overall, and it felt rather decadent to do so today.  We also took the opportunity to sit fairly quietly for a while, looking out at a fountain, with Lily drawing pictures and me checking messages and noodling on Facebook a bit.  Then we looked at a display of boats/canoes and Lily danced around the wide open space in the middle.  We also saw a film with a brief introduction to some tribes and their traditions and beliefs; exhibits about particular tribes such as the Anishinaabe and Lakota, and a kids’ area that Lily particularly liked, including a room full of musical instruments.  This last museum was my favorite, and I think it provided us both with further inspiration for exploring Native culture as we traverse the continent.

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Back on the Metro to Virginia we were tired.  I was looking at all the women in their business attire, their high heels (I just wrote ‘high hells’ by mistake—probably should have left it as-is), their careful makeup and coifs, their studiously fashionable yet business-like hand-bags.  I thought of how long ago it was that I ever aspired to any semblance of that mode of being.  I felt glad for my comfortable sandals and my low-maintenance hair which is frizzed out to Mars in this humidity.

It is starting to sink in, just slightly, that we are Sojourning, creating brand-new nuclei of meaning and experience.  Drinking and drinking it in, all of it.

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