Wednesday, April 14, 2010
Notes from the District: #3
I am fascinated by the relativity of our relationship to history and historical relevance. Out here in the Far West, we consider a building constructed in the early 1900s to be "historical." We engage in "preservation" efforts to save structures less than one hundred years old. This is a good thing; after all, if we want them to survive to be authentically ancient, we need to keep from mowing them down willy-nilly in the meantime. By way of contrast, however, when touring a castle in Ireland a few years back the docent commented that a hall in which we stood was a "modern restoration." By "modern" she meant 1863.
On a related note, that which I hold in reverence is another person's everyday life, and vice versa. I realize that I can become quite lackadaisical about my regular views of the dramatic, snow-capped peaks of the Cascades. People come clear across the country to see them, and for me, they are and have always been the backdrop of my existence. However, I am quite awed by the opportunity to view the White House. This is, for me, a truly unusual and inspiring sight. For the residents of Washington, D.C., however, I was amused to note that a Pennsylvania Avenue closed to vehicle traffic for security reasons is... a very good opportunity for a game of street hockey.