Wednesday, April 05, 2006


Yesterday I took the Monkey to the FDR Memorial to see the cherry blossoms. I wore him behind me using the baby carrier as a backpack, so I couldn't be certain what he was looking at or if he was having a good time. If people looked my way and smiled, that usually meant he was smiling. If people looked my way and cooed, he had fallen asleep.

I am proud to say that the Monkey felt secure enough to fall asleep in the carrier, especially on a blustery day. It means that I am satisyfing all of his needs.

Anyway, the rain earlier that morning -- and the passage of time -- meant that the cherry blossoms were a bit past their peak. They were still beautiful, and a number of the other trees in the area were blooming. So the bright, sunny day felt exactly like early spring. It made me aware of the other interesting plantings tucked in amongst the sprawl of the FDR Memorial; there is so much else to focus on that the greenscape is easy to overlook.

The FDR Memorial is perhaps my favorite memorial in all of Washington, DC. FDR's presidency spanned such a long and eventful period, and I like how the large footprint of the memorial reflects that physically -- almost the way the transept and nave of church architecture makes a physical connection to Christian symbology.

Also, the use of water in the FDR Memorial is stunning. I took some pictures with the video camera -- and maybe someday I'll post them here -- but the various waterfalls tell an incredible story:
  • The large, wide, unbroken pourover at the entrance
  • A waterfall broken into sections, representing the various public works projects of the first administration
  • A little waterfall, symbolizing the dignity of the common man
  • A waterfall broken asunder by large stone blocks jutting at crazy angles: War
  • The same chaotic waterfall, but with most of the block set at proper angles: path to peace
  • A wide, still pool underneath a relief of the funeral cortege
As it so happens, the Monkey loves water fountains -- including great, roaring, big ones -- so he was quite excited and bounced up and down in the carrier.

There are also incredible quotations carved into stone as one rounds a corner into a new part of the Memorial. I found it impossible not to contrast FDR with the present occupant of the White House. Let's just say that as a statesman, diplomat, politician, uniter (not divider), leader, warrior, and president, FDR left some big shoes to fill.

After we left the Memorial, we walked along the Tidal Basin for a while, and I let the Monkey play with some cherry blossoms, and with the gnarled trunks of some old cherry trees. We ducked under a couple of trees, looked at some ducks, and headed back for the car. Along the way he fell asleep, and barely stirred even through the awkward process of retrieving him from the carrier. He slept all the way on our trip home via Rock Creek Parkway, and stayed asleep for a while after I turned off the ignition.

With naptime over, we went inside and I made him some lunch. Then we played for a while with his new toys until the Monkey Mama came home.


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