A Monumental Walk

Last Sunday, I had the chance to be a tourist on a glorious day in DC, and I had such a peaceful day walking the National Mall and monuments for hours and hours. Even though I lived in the DC area for over 12 years, I am still in awe of the majestic views and terrific traffic jams the city has to offer.

This blog post will likely be a wandering journey just like my walk was. My only goal for the day last Sunday was to live in the moment, and to wander where my heart led. So – I am going to use the same approach with my blog post this Sunday. We’ll see what happens!

Armed with comfy walking shoes and my iPod, I started my journey at the National Academy of Sciences so that I could visit my old friend, Albert Einstein.

This is one of my favorite memorials of all time, and I visit Al each time I walk the National Mall. I just love how he’s sitting there, reading and pondering in the natural elements. This image conveys living in the moment in the most perfect way. I hung out with my friend Al for a little while, thinking about one of my favorite quotes of his:

“The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.”

-Albert Einsten

Oh Al, I am insane so much of the time!! There is something hard-wired in me that makes it very difficult for me to give up – to admit defeat. So I keep trying, sometimes doing the same thing again and again…it’s like banging my own head against a wall. Maybe I am like this as result of growing up in a competitive family…maybe it is because I am a hopeful romantic…there are so many possible explanations. All I know is that I tend to be the kind of person who “leaves it all on the field” so to speak. So yes, I can definitely be more than a little insane! But hey, I never claimed to be a scientist like Al, that is for sure.

I continued my journey, passing the Lincoln Memorial, crossing over to the Tidal Basin because I was eager to see the new Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial.

My takeaway from my visit with MLK is his message of hope, which makes sense given that I am hard-wired as an optimist. This may play into my tendency towards “insanity,” but I have to say I would rather be an insane optimist than a despairing pessimist any day of the week.

Excited to be away from the crowds, I continued my walk around the Tidal Basin to revisit Franklin Delano Roosevelt, and his wife Eleanor.

As I walked through the four sections of the FDR Memorial that represent his four terms, I though about how I spent my first four years after college graduation as a middle school teacher. I had displayed this quote by Eleanor Roosevelt all year long each school year:

“No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.”

-Eleanor Roosevelt

I love this quote because Eleanor reminds us that we have the power – that we are not victims unless we allow ourselves to become so. She was a wise woman.

Onward to visit another old favorite, Thomas Jefferson. TJ had been on my mind recently because I had just served jury duty for the first time just a few days prior. Admittedly, I wasn’t exactly thrilled to have been called to serve, but I did feel it was my civic duty…just as I think voting is a privilege and a right that we are crazy not to exercise. So a little reminder of the powerful words of the Constitution were welcome to me.

I did also think about how it took some time for equal to include African Americans and women…and apparently we still have a ways to go to legalize gay marriage. I sincerely hope we are well on our way to real equality.

I covered the rest of my walk with a pause to watch the kites flying by the Washington Monument, to take a quick look at Michelle Obama’s inaugural gown at the American History Museum, and to walk through the WW II Memorial…and then back to my car once again.

At the end of my walk, I was peaceful, tired, and thoughtful. Tonight as I get ready for the week to begin, I once again feel peaceful, tired and thoughtful.

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3 thoughts on “A Monumental Walk

  1. Walked the War Memorial circuit a couple of weeks ago while visiting Karen in DC–and was amazed at how easy it was to become emotionally involved with these granite and concrete structures!! They are so much more!! Thanks for the thoughtful and inspiring words! These monuments really do serve their purpose!

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