Every time I visit the nation’s capitol, particularly when driving around in DC with somebody who knows their way around, I am struck by how spectacularly Small it is. I mean in area. For that many people to coexist with that many historic and/or holy edifices and monuments means they must crowd in upon one another. One pictures a solitary visit to the Lincoln Memorial or the Washington Monument. One doesn’t picture the clogged arteries of rush-hour traffic whizzing, and growling and fuming, by at arms length. The one visit we made, to the National Cathedral, set me gasping and stuttering when the magnificent, breathtaking structure rose up out of a modest neighborhood like Zeus among the tenements. What a study in contradictions. One might expect our nation’s elected officials to be more serious about their business when having to wade through such an architectural as well as human polyglot on their way to work. Another turn into a neighborhood took us through embassy row, where representatives of more than 100 countries reside in perfect harmony, if not outright boredom. There are places I ache to visit, not so much the big stuff as the phenomenal — Mary McLeod Bethune’s house, The Museum of the American Indian and, next time I head toward Charlottesville – Jefferson’s gardens at Monticello. Now, the New York leg has been postponed until later, and home beckons.
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