I have been in the Capitol several times. Each time I enter is a new experience. I don’t know how to explain the feeling that engulfs me. It’s a combination of wonder, awe, respect, excitement, humility, pride, and much more. The above two images were taken looking directly up from near the center of the Capitol Rotunda. I was shivering with awe when I took these images and had a very difficult time trying to be steady enough to get a decent shot.
The Apotheosis of Washington was painted by Constantino Brumidi in 1865. It depicts George Washington rising to the heavens in glory. The fresco is 180 feet above the Rotunda floor.
‘Washington, Liberty, and Victory/Fame’
George Washington is flanked by two female figures representing Liberty and Victory/Fame. Thirteen maidens, symbolizing the 13 original states, surround the three main figures. Six groups of figures are painted around Washington, Liberty, Victory/Fame, and the thirteen maidens. These represent war, science, marine, commerce, mechanics, and agriculture.
‘War’ is depicted by Armed Freedom and Eagle defeating Tyranny and Kingly Power.
This Fourth of July will be different that any other. The Fourth of July has always been a special time when I’ve celebrated with family and friends. I remember growing up and having family get-togethers at Sportsman’s Park in Yakima and watching fireworks at the Selah Park. I’ve been lucky enough to spend the Fourth in Washington, DC four times. I’ve watched fireworks over the Capitol Mall … what a glorious experience. Our University of Washington college group (the Whizzies) have gotten together for the Fourth every year since the the mid 80’s. For the past 30+ years we have joined together at Sunriver Resort in Oregon. We have watched the Whizzy children grow up and have children of their own. The Covid-19 pandemic has changed all our lives but not our spirit. Though we will not physically get together, we will have a collective Zoom event to celebrate the Holiday and our friendship.
In these difficult times, let’s all take the time to reflect on what this special holiday represents. It is a time to be grateful for what others have given to insure our independence and freedom. It is a time to give back to our Country and peoples and to make our Nation stronger.
Remember the “Many Loves of Dobie Gillis” TV sitcom back in the late 50’s and early 60’s? Each episode started and ended with a little soliloquy of Dobie talking in front of “The Thinker.” Dobie was always contemplating on what the important things in life were: Girls and Money (used to get Girls). Things were much simpler back then. I decided to make good use of my “social isolation” time and did a little searching and found season 1, episode 1 of the show. It made me smile as I thought back to those simpler times and the start of the “beat” generation.
Fifty plus years later, I found myself standing along Rodin’s “The Thinker” in downtown Philadelphia. It was a difficult time for me then. I took the time to admire Rodin’s sculpture, clear my mind, and refocus my thoughts on what was the most important thing I could do moving forward. The answer was simple, live each and every day to its fullest.
Today was one of those days. I started sharing coffee and breakfast with my dear wife. We had a nice discussion, then went out to work in and enjoy our developing landscape. Later I came in for lunch and a nice afternoon nap. I woke up, did a little reading, then reviewed some of my older photography work, including this image of “The Tinker.” It triggerd old memories and I watched the episode of Dobie Gillis. Enjoying time with my wife, enjoying nature and getting a little exercise, reading to stimulate my mind, studying some classic art through my photographs, and watching a little past history … it was a simple, wonderful, and full day.
The “Painted Church” is a must see little gem in the heart of Hawaii’s Kona coffee plantation area in South Kona. The church is on a peaceful hillside overlooking the coastline below. It was built by Belgian Catholic missionary Father John Velghe from 1899 – 1902. Father Velghe painted scenes of biblical stories along the church interior walls. He used the scenes to deliver his messages since most of his native Hawaiian parishioners could not read.
A history of the church can be found at the following link: https://keolamagazine.com/art/painted-church/
This image was taken from below the Gynko Petrified Forest Visitor’s Center near Vantage Washington. Seeing these brought back many happy memories of my youth.
As a young Boy Scout, I can remember hiking along the Columbia River north of Vantage, Washington. Huge basalt cliffs rose above the free flowing river. We could climb up along the rocks and see these funny drawings made by ancient Indians. We did not think much of it back then. When the Wanapum Dam was built, the backwaters flooded the area where many of these artifacts were located. Luckily, someone had the foresight to carefully remove these petroglyphs before the water covered them up. Today several of the saved petroglyphs are displayed below the Gynko Petrified Forest Visitors Center.
Note: Notice the initials and heart above the man and woman. Why would anyone deface such a piece of our history????