Wednesday, April 11, 2012

The City Of Jefferson: We're Movin' On Up

I made another trip to the City of Jefferson today, our state capitol. As a parent of 8, I’ve been lucky enough to make this school trip many times, to get a bit more education and to spend a bit of time with the kiddies and their friends. Not all of the kiddies have appreciated me being there over the years, but some have.

One of my favorite parts of the capitol building tour is the Senate Lounge, which features a wall-to-wall mural by Thomas Hart Benton. I love the rich, deep colors and the liquid movements of the characters in his work. You can see more here, or read about it here.

I like the towering, heavy, light-filled empty spaces in these types of buildings, like in European cathedrals.

Something I hadn’t done yet, but have wanted to for a long time, was to climb up into the dome, far, far into the top of the building. It took our guides three sets of keys to get us up there, then we had hundreds of steep, tiny steps up and up and up, on a narrow, caged walkway. I was fascinated at the other side of the dome, the part you can’t see from the lower floors, the dusty scaffolding that holds it in place, the surprisingly small supports, the clever engineering. I tried to imagine what it would have been like, back in 1917, to be up there building that dome. It must have been dangerous, but it may have been just another day at work for those guys.

The view was fantastic, well worth the many steps and shallow breaths getting up there.

Back on the ground, I found a flower I like. The grounds around the capitol building and the Governor’s Mansion are immaculate, as expected, but they are made more pleasing with hundreds and hundreds of school children running across them.

As a school boy myself, perhaps 4th grade, I used to collect photographs of this building, and always hoped I would one day be able to see it in person. It does not disappoint, if you like history, old, old houses, fine art, and old, hardwood floors.

Me, I’m a big fan of wooden floors, one of my favorite features of our own house, and perhaps one reason why I like to play basketball.

We also were lucky enough to meet one of our state senators and a representative or two, and unlucky enough to sit in on parts of a state Senate session and a House of Representatives session. I have to tell you, I’m not impressed, but watching my elected officials “in action” wasn’t enough to spoil a lovely day.

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