Just Plain Foolish

Just a chance for an old-fashioned, simple storyteller to say what needs to be said.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

A busy day

Went to the Smithsonian today and took in the Portuguese exhibit at the Freer and Sackler, and the National Museum of African Art (One of the neat things about the Smithsonian is that these three museums all connect underground, so you can start wandering in one of them and come up to the outside again in another. Technically, there wasn't any of the exhibit in the Freer, but that's where we came in, and they're always mentioned together anyway...)

The Freer and Sackler have long been favorite haunts of mine - they tend to be quieter than the Air and Space Museum, for instance, or even the main galleries of the Natural History Museum in summer. And space is divided in interesting ways, and there are plenty of nicely padded benches for sitting and contemplating on (or for resting feet that have carried you through a maze of marble hallways and stairs). And best of all, if you make it all the way down to the bottom of the Sackler, there is the pottery room. The pottery room has a lovely, quiet fountain in it, and a few, exquisite pieces of modern pottery.

Hushed footfalls pause
Listen to silent whispers
Feel a painted breeze

And, of course, once you are out of the galleries, there are truly beautiful gardens, walkways, and decorative pools to enjoy, behind the castle. Flowers everywhere, and benches scattered to catch the shades of different times of day. Marble walks give way to brick, and clever gardeners have sculpted a fantasia from hedge.

Under an arched hedge,
Afternoon shadows tiptoe
Toward bright water.

The National Mall is growing dry and dusty from the heat, and from the millions of visitors who stroll across the grass, but even here, the trees spread shade, and there are vendors selling ices. And if you know where to go, there are sunken sculpture gardens with some shade, and quiet walkways. Plus, of course, the tall marble porches of the museums seem to offer relief.

Robins flick dust,
Watching tourists come and go.
Maybe scraps will fall.

After all that walking, I was glad to catch a train back out of the city, and stop to pick up the last few items for tomorrow from the grocery.

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