Well, actually it was Fall’s Church, Virginia, which is within spitting distance of DC. We took this time to recoup, get a break from driving, do laundry, and hang out with family. Not much sign of spring around the house, with the bare trees and winter lawn. It was cold and we needed a jacket when outside. But the newphews (I started to fix that typo but then thought it kind of appropriate – after all they are my ‘new’ nephews by marriage) were breaking out their summer transportation, ever hopeful.
I took a couple of trips in to the city via the subway system. I took instruction from Garrett, who is nine, and who accompanied me the first time. I am very grateful to him for showing me the ropes. Or rails, as it were. He was very patient. We decided to spend the day at the Smithsonian. This was a much better deal than our Boston experience (recall the $27 for parking and steep admission charge) All of the Smithsonian museums have no entry charge and the subway cost less than $8 for the round trip. I made a deal with Garret that if he would accompany me to the National Gallery for a quick tour I would dawdle as long as he wanted at the Air and Space Museum. And that we did, after a spontaneous tour of the sculpture garden. This was Garret’s favourite piece. I had no idea it was an optical illusion until he pointed it out.
We watched these little fellows, who were touching the thinkingl hare sculpture above, get shooed away by their father, who pointed out the prominent “DO NOT TOUCH” sign. Well, they were determined to touch something so they promptly wrapped themselves around the title block.
Shortly after that we saw two young women next to another sculpture. One was describing it, while the other, completely blind, was running her hand down the side of it. I watched the security guard approach them and ask them not to touch the work. The blind girl smiled and put out her white cane to walk away. No point hanging around if she couldn’t connect with it. I could see a change in the guard’s face when he realized why they were breaking the rules but he was relentless and said they could possibly make some special arrangements with management if they wanted to come back and touch the art. It made me immensely sad that it could not be accessible to everyone.
We did our rapid tour of the National Gallery where Garrett surmised he was more interested in the air conditioning grates than most of the art. This may sound odd but not so, as they were pieces of art in themselves. We did find some choice pieces to suit him but I spared him the impressionists on this trip. I think we spent more time in the gift shop than we did in the galleries.
The Air and Space museum was a treat as I hadn’t been there before. I was taken with the early commercial aircraft exhibits while Garrett was most interested in uniforms and bullets. Tons to see and we really only scratched the surface. And of course their was the obligatory trip through the gift shop where he bought freeze dried ice cream.
I had enjoyed my last visit there but on this day it didn’t measure up. Perhaps it was because we came in to a side door. Or perhaps we were just tired. I don’t know what it was really but I found that the exhibits did not invite you in. Too many walls and doors and not enough light? Not sure, I’ll have to go back and try again. As it was I did enjoy the craft displays on the first level.
Time to get home before rush hour. Why did the trip back to the Metro seem so much longer than the walk to the museums? On the bright side, we found spring although it wasn’t much evident in the temperature which was still in the single digits:
©Judy Parsons 2014