Virginia Part 2

Saturday, 12 January 13

I’m on the Amtrak from Charlottesville to Alexandria, Virginia, coasting smoothly through forest of spindly trees, bare of leaves, succumbing to fog.  (Too fast to take photos.)  A clearing – tan fields shorn and edged in evergreens.  A white farmhouse.  A stand of cows beneath a tree; a meandering stream, an opaque blue-green.  A white “plantation house”, two-storied, fronted by columns; in the distance a red brick house surrounded by coniferous sentinels.  A two-lane road, looking newly paved, with one car.  A large swath of green field, shocking in its grey/tan surroundings.   A cemetery, hills of white, identical gravestones in rows.  This many war dead here?

This National Cemetery in Culpeper, VA originated in the Civil War to bury the dead of nearby battles. Today it is still in use for veterans of past and current wars.

A pink mattress upright on a covered porch.  A car in a large puddle under a tree.  An outsized pond, edged with dead reeds, dotted with white ducks.  Small clutches of poor houses and trailers with piles of debris.  A prosperous, tastefully painted (grey with white trim) wood house with colorful farm machinery.


old townMy friends here had lived in a three-story townhome in Old Town Alexandria across the street from Founders Park on the Potomac.  (This photo of their previous home from google maps.)  In their late eighties they decided to move into a condominium highrise on the DC 010Potomac so they only had one set of stairs to walk up from the garage to their condo (with an elevator backup).

Would have been great views of Maryland if the fog hadn’t been so thick.

cosmos clubSunday they took me to their club for brunch, the Cosmos Club.  Very proper!

The Cosmos Club is a private social club, incorporated in Washington, D.C. in 1878 by John Wesley Powell.

Since its founding, the Club has elected as members individuals in virtually every profession that has anything to do with scholarship, creative genius or intellectual distinction.

Among its members, over the years, have been three Presidents, two Vice Presidents, a dozen Supreme Court justices, 32 Nobel Prize winners, 56 Pulitzer Prize winners and 45 recipients of the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Since 1952 the Club’s headquarters have been in the Mary Scott Townsend house, set in almost an acre of garden, designed in the Beaux Arts French style in 1898.

Here is my photo of one of the event rooms.  Not quite Versailles, but headed in that direction.  There is a large library on the second floor, which as a section of books written by club members.

East Wing National Gallery of Art

After lunch we went to the East Wing of the National Gallery of Art.  Still under repair (expected to be completed by spring 2014).caulder2

Exterior panels, made of Tennessee lavender-pink marble, were tilting outward, which indicated problems with the support system. A consultant recommended that the gallery remove all 16,200 panels and install new supports behind them.

It’s been many years since I’d been there.  Never remembered the spiral staircases in the back. Couldn’t take photos of the Roy Lichtenstein exhibit, but took a few of the Caulder mobiles (love the shadows).

DC 020Andy Goldsworthy is one of my favorites, mentioned in two previous blogs.1 So I took a photo of his installation in/outside the Atrium.

British artist Andy Goldsworthy, along with his assistant and a team of workers including four dry-stone wallers also from Britain, installed the sculpture entitled Roof on the ground level of the East Building over the course of nine weeks in the winter of 2004/2005.

DC 019DC 021Also in the Atrium are these granite “Settees” that I’ve always liked, by Scott Burton (total weight: 11,000 lb.).   And this lovely couple render in bronze, Capricorn by Max Ernst.  Capricorn is a sea-goat, so I guess the male figure has goat’s horns, the female a fish’s tail, but could someone please explain the child in his left hand?

One myth says that when the goat-god Pan was attacked by the monster Typhon, he dove into the Nile; the parts above the water remained a goat, but those under the water transformed into a fish.

Sunday 13 January 2013

Just flew from foggy DC on a flight packed with nineteen of the Stanford wrestling team, one on crutches, having damaged his foot.  (I sat between two of them.)  Now my connecting flight is delayed in Denver (maintenance problem regarding a seat) for two hours.  Shall get into Phoenix at 1 am.  Luckily had planned to stay overnight at my cousin’s before driving down to Tucson Monday morning for work.

idaho mapJust called my daughter as they caravanned (two cars, three kids, two dogs) from their previous residence in Phoenix to their new abode in Twin Falls, Idaho.  They almost didn’t make it due to heavy snow on the roads.  Pulled into town with ten minutes to spare before signing the final papers on their “new” house.  She said that the dogs had such a hard time going out in the cold that they kept their legs crossed for three days of travel.

Their new home is larger than the old one, but their belongings have expanded to fit.  (They camped overnight on the floor for the first night, and their furniture arrived the next day.)

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