chapter lx

Posts Tagged ‘Greenbelt

Still in Greenbelt. Spent the past few days in DC at galleries and museums. Thursday, the National Gallery where I saw an exhibit of Robert Frank’s America, a book of photographs he published 50 years ago after spending a couple years traveling the US on a grant to capture the American spirit at the time. Some of them were quite moving, and most were very good at telling a story. Also an exhibit of illuminated manuscripts. I love them, they are such small gems. This collection covered about five countries and two hundred or so years. Beautiful. Then took one of the guided one-hour quick look at the American painting collection up to the twentieth century. It was worthwhile, letting someone point out the highlights and give context.

Friday, back to the city and the Renwick Gallery, which had an exhibit of the work of Greene & Greene, architect brothers who were designing homes in California the early years of the twentieth century and were very influenced by the Arts and Crafts movement, Morris’s philosophy of beauty and utility. They not only designed the homes, but the gardens and furniture. It was well presented, and very beautiful. That gallery also has an entire room of paintings by someone (I’ve forgotten his name already, maybe Calen) who traveled the US during the 1830’s to 50’s painting native Americans, their dress, their customs and ceremonies and wrote a little about each tribe, how they lived, how many were left, etc. He knew that it was important to record those things, and it was very impressive, the thoroughness that he brought to the project. There were probably 200 paintings on the walls, from eye level to ceiling, and the variety that he captured was wonderful. Then down to the Smithsonian American History Museum, which was entertaining and interesting – spent a lot of time in the inventions and inventors section.

Coming home, my cell phone died – when am I going to remember to keep that thing charged, I think it’s time for a new phone – and I got on the wrong bus to get back to Joan and Stephen’s. They began to worry when I wasn’t back by 7:30 and I had been traveling the wrong direction for about an hour.
We went to the Zoo today and saw many wonderful things.

Magnolia in DC

Magnolia in DC

In the inventions hall

In the inventions hall

Stephen, Joan and Amina

Stephen, Joan and Amina

At the zoo

At the zoo

More zoo

More zoo

Underwater

Underwater

So beautiful

So beautiful

Greenbelt. Turned into a beautiful sunny day here, early spring, bulbs just beginning to poke through the leaves, little chill in the air but sunny. I finally got out the paints, and dressed Bella up, and Amina did her some too. Too bad I didn’t think earlier to just do it, and have everyone I have been to see add a little of their art. I hope that Joan and Stephen paint something. So here are photos, outside and in. You can see that the packing job is expert – no shifting around, the things I need at hand; picnic basket full of good snacks, nuts and dried fruit, crackers, and a small cooler for juice and cheese and fresh fruit. There is a larger bag that fits beteen the seats that hold books and maps and computer and chargers and makeup and I don’t know what else.

Bella

Bella

Duvet and Raphael's Madonna on top

Duvet and Raphael's Madonna on top

Like a Bedouin - pillows and blankets and rugs

Like a Bedouin - pillows and blankets and rugs

The most comfortable driving seat I've ever had

The most comfortable driving seat I've ever had

Greenbelt, Maryland, mile 4040. Holy cow, eighteen days and 4000 miles. I feel so lucky on so many counts; that I have time to do this, that I have so little, and so little to worry about, that I have so many friends and family, that this is a beautiful world, that life is good. I am filled with contentment and gratitude and look forward to what’s coming next.

It was a beautiful day, rain finally stopped and although it is chilly and was overcast most the day, it was a wonderful drive. I avoided the Interstate practically all the way – a little to Durham, and then coming into the DC area – at rush hour! I have done most of this without a map – some places I knew how to get there, and some times it is just asking locals how they get from here to there. This morning I asked the desk clerk about US 29 or US 501 and he suggested 501 but didn’t know much about it in Virginia, so when I got to Virginia, asked how they would get to DC and several people in the little store had suggestions, so I found 29 again, and both roads were easy, no traffic, very few TRUCKS and pleasant to drive. That whole area – North Carolina, Virginia is rolling and winding, the bottom of the Smokies. One of my favorite places in the states. I also love Kentucky but probably won’t see Kentucky this trip. Finally drove out of the allergy zone yesterday, as not much is blooming here yet, but as I came around a curve in Virginia this afternoon, there on a hillside in front of me was a whole pink tree, standing against the grey hill and surrounded by all the other stark naked trees. It was breathtaking. I am sorry that I never got a photo of a redbud.

Tomorrow is the day I dress up Bella. I stopped at a custom car shop today that does decals on cars – it occurred to me that a decal might be what I’m looking for, but it would take a couple days. This was by the side of a road, gravel drive and inside two people huddled around a small woodstove and a stock car with decals all over it. All day I’ve been thinking of how to do it myself, and picturing what I want besides “Bella” on the hood. I will post when it’s finished. Last night when I went to dinner, there was a twin parked in the lot, except the other one was a little less battered. I asked the men at the next table if it was theirs, as they were the only other people in the restaurant besides a large noisy family but they had already left. It wasn’t, and then I realized that it probably is not the kind of van they would be driving – hunters, fishermen, they probably have a Ford pickup or some gallumping SUV.

The mountains in the East are so different from the mountains in the West. They are lower, softer, not so jagged and treed. There was the most incredible huge red sunset tonight. I am at Joan’s and they have the largest magnolia in the front yard that I have ever seen. Too bad I won’t be here when it blooms. I will stay here through the weekend – time to do laundry, see some of the Capitol and enjoy being with more loved ones.

Hills in Virginia

Hills in Virginia