Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Jose Can You See, By the Dawnzer Lee Light

I was in my 30's before I had the pleasure of visiting Washington D.C.for the first time.

And, I'm of the firm opinion that, even if you're not a particularly patriotic (ahem), flag waving, parade attending citizen, Washington D.C. is an amazing city that everyone should make a point of visiting. If for no other reason than to wander through the vast number (and variety) of free museums.

I flew in with Blind Betsy that first (and second...uh...and third) time. It was the Thanksgiving holiday and our plane arrived late in the evening - after 9. Since we were arriving into Dulles so late, Betsy had arranged for a car service to pick us up and deliver us to Takoma Park, MD where my brother lived.

As luck would have it, our driver - and the owner of the car service company - had been stationed at F.E. Warren Air Force Base for a time during his active military duty. When he found out we were from Cheyenne then (I refrained from mentioning I was really "from" Denver at that point), he was so happy to have us and offered to take us on a driving tour, at night, of the nation's capital.

How could we refuse?

So my very first glimpse of the National Mall was at night, in winter, with the softly glowing lights illuminating  the most famous works of statuary art in our country.

It was...magic.

Later, during that same trip, we would head to the Mall - again, at night - via the Metro to wander about on foot before heading to DuPont Circle for supper and dessert.

I didn't expect to be touched. I didn't expect to feel much of anything. I expected to see each monument and appreciate its art and walk away mentally crossing the National Mall off my bucket list.

And then?

Then we arrived at the Lincoln Memorial.

Yeah. I cried. Shutup.

It wasn't the art itself. It wasn't its aesthetic quality. It simply was what it represented...at least, I think. Approaching the steps, walking up to stand at the feet of, perhaps, our greatest president, at night, the dark enveloping us until we'd approached the monument when we were bathed in the soft, yellow glow, and then yeah. I cried. Bite me.

That was without music. That was without anything but the sounds of strangers whispering and the cold, night air around me.

Yesterday, I heard this story on NPR. The band, Bluebrain, has composed an album only available via an iPhone app that can only be activated when you're on the Mall. It is, in essence, a location-based soundtrack. Composed to evoke emotion as you wander the various paths through the Mall.

And I thought to myself...wow! If I cried back then, imagine what I'd do now listening to music composed specifically for the purpose of perusing this emotionally charged place.

If I ever go back, I'm fucked, y'all. You'll find me curled up in a little ball at the base of the Viet Nam memorial and ready for the white coats.

Damn. That's cool.

1 comment:

Gavin said...

It's the Vietnam Memorial that would most wreck me, I fear. Patriotism and disillusionment and the stark beauty of it, combined with a shit-ton of regrets over the (step) father who lost the better part of himself 42 years ago, and hasn't yet had the courage to go reclaim it from the trauma-monster. Maggie finds it endearing that I get weepy about such things. I'd be a wreck there.