It’s an overcast day in Washington DC, our Nation’s Capital. Signs of spring are everywhere–from the budding trees making verdant lace against a soft grey sky, to gas hovering around $4.25. It’s a little cool and early in the season for a down home crab feast, but the Queen is in the mood for some seafood. Let’s hang out by the Tidal Basin for a bit, grab a bite on the wharf and then head downtown to the National Portrait Gallery. Perfect day for a stroll…especially since petrol is so damned high.
Before we get to the wharves, let’s walk through L’Enfant Plaza. Although most of the shops are closed, we can still traverse the sweeping boulevard that spans Interstate 295, and see much of Southwest and the Waterfront. On a midsummer’s evening the view is a breathtaking amalgam of the Urban and the Bucolic. At the end of the boulevard sits Benjamin Banneker Memorial.Like the man, the memorial gets little due these days. But is a quiet tribute to a genius who is credited by some with helping to shape the landscape of the District of Columbia. Legend has it that Pierre L’Enfant–the architect who was commissioned by President Washington to design the city–was fired a year later, and took his plans for D.C. with him. Banneker, who was one of the members of the surveyor team was able to reproduce them thanks to his photographic memory. Some scholars disagree with this, but the Queen chooses to believe it. If for no other reason than the Memorial in his name is great for cruising hunky tourists in the summertime.
Now that our bellies are full (I TOLD you the Stuffed Flounder was DIVINE at Phillip’s Buffet!), let’s walk off some of this food (and those Bloody Marys) by heading over to the National Portrait Gallery. Of all the Museums in Chocolate City, this is one of the Queen’s favorites. There is something about a good portrait that really does offer a glimpse into the soul of the individual. I love wandering through the Hall of Presidents. It feels as if you get an understanding of these leaders in a way that no other medium gives you. If the Queen had understood in school that our past is much more than just a bunch of dates–he might have chosen to be a Historian.
When the Queen saw The Black List exhibit for the first time, to be honest he was slightly underwhelmed. The concept itself brought tears to my eyes. Seeing an entire section of the Gallery dedicated to people who looked like me was overwhelming. I was delighted to see familiar faces, and grateful to learn about people of color that I knew little to nothing about (Maya Rudolph identifies as Black–who knew?). However, the “soul captured” that I talked about loving in good Portraiture is missing from many of these photographs for me. I love that there is a chronicle of people of color that spans the generations, but the spark that makes them unique is missing for me. I bow to Timothy Greenfield-Sanders for his work. The thought behind it is revolutionary. For the Queen the result doesn’t always live up to it.
There’s a lot of crap going on in this country and world of ours. From the European Debt Crisis and Syrian Uprising, to young people dying for no reason. It is easy to give up. It is difficult to push through. And then I see a cherry blossom softly dance in the wind and land on grass the loveliest shade of fern I have ever seen. I remember the older gentleman who went all over the mall looking for me when I left my wallet at Target (yes the Queen shops at Target. I am not ashamed). I remember I have new support from people on a blog–whom I’ve never met. And I remember that it is Spring. There is the miracle of New Beginnings. And it really can be a Wonderful World.
Thanks for sharing the afternoon with me Miss Things. See ya’ tomorrow.