Capitol Crypt


The white stone compass star in the center marks where the city’s four quadrants meet. 

Yes, you read this correctly.  There is a place in the U.S. Capitol called the Crypt. 

For a long time the term has referenced the space below the main floor of a church or a chamber in a mausoleum.  We often think of a crypt as a place for burial, right?

Why the capitol then?  It is something different. The Crypt contains 40 smooth Doric columns of sandstone, which support the arches holding up the floor of the Rotunda,  the large, domed, circular room located in the center of the Capitol on the second floor. 

The columns are modeled on the Temple of Poseidon, which were the shortest and the strongest columns that survive from classical Greece.

The sandstone floor hosts hundreds of people visiting every day from around the world.  The white stone compass star in the center marks where the city’s four quadrants meet. 

Sandstone used in the U.S. Capitol

Around the perimeter are statues of prominent individuals from the nation’s original 13 colonies.  Display cases present exhibits and historic objects.

The Crypt was associated with a proposed interment even before it was built. After the death of President George Washington in 1799, Congress resolved to honor him in the Capitol.

A chamber for the remains of the first president and his wife was added to the plans for the center section of the building and constructed two stories below the Rotunda. Directly above the tomb, where the center of the Crypt is located, was to be placed a marble statue of Washington.

A 10-foot circular opening was left in the center of the Rotunda floor so that visitors could view it from above. However, Washington’s grave remained at Mount Vernon in accordance with his wishes, and no statue of him was ever placed in the Crypt.

Because the 10-foot opening allowed persistent drafts and dampness into the Rotunda, it was sealed in 1828.  https://www.aoc.gov/blog/how-crypt-got-its-name

George Washington truly represented our nation and its values well.  He didn’t want to become a king but simply wanted to return to his civilian life after his term was over so others could be elected president. 

Maybe our political leaders should revisit the ideals of President Washington in providing selfless service for the people. 

Blessings and love along the way,

Ron

Tru life

Work stations while enjoying a stay at Tru Hotel

It’s new, at least to me.  Have you stayed at Hilton’s Tru Hotel yet.  I had my first stay during our trip to Washington, D.C.

I don’t receive any benefit by writing about Hilton properties but their brands are my preference.  We typically stay at a Hampton Inn and Suites but the Tru Hotel was readily available and the price was right.

Tru Hotel in Sumpter, South Carolina, U.S.

I was impressed.

The open-air lobby was well-lighted and inviting with modern décor and design.  The rooms were immaculate and comfortable. 

The front desk was in the center of the lobby surrounded by snacks, breakfast bar area, work spaces, seating areas and recreation.  This stay was during the Christmas season so the tree was nicely adorned with matching colors.

The Tru Hotel we stayed in was in Sumpter, South Carolina. 

I enjoyed every aspect of our stay at Tru.  Now you have more information in case you wondered.  More details and photos are available at https://tru3.hilton.com/en/our-story/index.html.

Blessings and love along the way,

Ron

Days of Political Civility?

U.S. Capitol Old Senate Chamber
Old Senate Chamber at the U.S. Capitol

One of the best tours I’ve had in Washington, D.C. was recent at the U.S. Capitol.  It’s always nice to go back and hear of the efforts, struggles and successes of our democracy. 

U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C.

I especially enjoyed seeing the legislative seats from the past.  I tend to ponder how civil they were back years ago compared to the debates (mostly bickering and arguing) of today.  I’m sure there were some heavy discussions back then but maybe they accomplished a lot, ensuring the best interest of the nation.

Old Senate Chamber in U.S. Capitol

To me, there is something special about the old senate chamber.  Can you imagine the conversations and debates in this respected meeting place? 

During the senate’s residence in this chamber from 1810 to 1859, the it grew from a small advisory council to the primary forum for the great national debates of the mid-19th century—an era known as the Senate’s “Golden Age.” Here the “Great Triumvirate” of Senators Daniel Webster of Massachusetts, Henry Clay of Kentucky, and John C. Calhoun of South Carolina fiercely debated the issues of slavery, territorial expansion, and economic policy affecting the new nation. The Senate became the sounding board for the nation, and its galleries were packed with visitors hoping to witness these memorable proceedings. In this chamber senators forged a series of compromises that held the Union together in the four decades prior to the Civil War.  (Check out more of the history at https://www.senate.gov/artandhistory/art/resources/pdf/Old_Senate_Chamber.pdf)

A good video of the senate chamber is provided by C-Span at https://www.c-span.org/video/?c4633919/senate-chamber.

Do you think the debates in the old senate chamber were different from the debates in the current senate in the U.S. Capitol?

Blessings and love along the way,

Ron

Smallcakes

Cupcakes adorn the counter at Smallcakes in Arlington, Virginia.

I thought since many of us had sufficient sweets during the past month we may have a body reaction by now – to indulge ourselves again. 

What if I just posted some images from Smallcakes near Washington, D.C. (Arlington, Virginia close to the Pentagon)? Well, sure, why not? 

I have some future posts about Smallcakes in other locations but I wanted to wet your appetite so you won’t have withdrawals.  Okay? Will that work?

Smallcakes is a sweet place to get your sugar fix; the only thing though – they don’t have gluten-free ones.  Bummer!  That’s okay, family and others sure enjoy them.  I’ll just look and smell, and photograph.  😊

Watch out world!  Smallcakes says they have a plan for “Worldwide Cupcake Domination.”  https://www.smallcakescupcakery.com/

Where’s the competition? 

Blessings and love along the way,

Ron

On track!

Tracks and trains at Union Station in Washington, D.C.
Tracks and trains assemble at Union Station in Washington, D.C. as cars, trucks and people cross over in late 2018, surrounded by offices and residences.

These are my thoughts as I looked over some images from our recent trip to Washington, D.C. 

We’re on track now, where will we go?

Check with the conductor or read the map –

Where the tracks will lead.

Or, did you just get on board to where the train stops?

Union Station mall
Union Station stores and restaurants are part of the walkway to and from trains.
Metro station transfer point
Metro Station transfer – looking for which route to take.

The year began, and yet where did it go?

The scenery passes, and we tend to look back.

Metro station boarding in Washington, D.C.
Riding new Metro in Washington, D.C.

With the right ticket and watching the signs,

We’ll know we’ll get there, because we’re on the right track.

The flurry of travelers come and go;

It seems like no one notices the other.

I watched as humans seemed like bots,

Heads down, eyes on devices, no one speaks a word.

Watch out! The door is opening – in an out they go;

Better not get in the way or you’ll toss to and fro.

Now the holiday break is done,

And the routine is back.

Those robotic travelers back at the grind;

I hope they pay attention to life all around.

It’s safer to be aware, though we know the track;

The track for work, play, where we live.

Don’t let life pass – like scenery along the route.

Without a thought of life – or whether the track is right.

Blessings and love along the way,

Ron

What’s red in winter?


Poinsettias surround the display of natural resources at the U.S. Botanic Garden, depicting the U.S. National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C.

Where were you thinking? I was thinking about the red-flowered plant called the poinsettia, typically used as a Christmas plant?

The poinsettia is native to the tropical forest of the pacific coast of southern Mexico.  There it grows as a large shrub reaching up to 30 feet in height. It blooms in late fall after the rainy season ends.    

Poinsettias
Photo of information poster at the U.S. Botanic Garden and Conservatory in Washington, D.C.

The plant’s common name refers back to Joel Roberts Poinsett, the first U.S. minister to Mexico.  He sent seeds and samples of the plant back to the U.S.A. back in the 1820s.  (Information obtained from the U.S. Botanic Garden in Washington, D.C.)

During the 1800s the poinsettia was a greenhouse curiosity often used as a short-lived, but distinctive, red cut flower.  It wasn’t until the 1920s and 1930s that additional colors were discovered and brought into the trade 

In the 1960s the introduction of varieties that produced bushy, compact plants led to mass production and marketing. 

Intentional radiation exposure of the poinsettia tissue in the 1980s resulted in mutations and mixture of color as well as new growth forms we have today. 

There are currently more than 100 new cultivars in development.  I still like the old-fashioned red color during the winter though. 

Do you have a poinsettia?  Here are a few tips to care for the plant beyond the winter season, according to HGTV.  https://www.hgtv.com/outdoors/flowers-and-plants/poinsettia-care-through-winter-and-beyond

Warm and Bright: It may seem strange due to their holiday connotations, but poinsettias are tropical plants. Provide lots of sunlight — a sunny window with east, west, or southern exposure is best. Also try to keep the temperature between 65 and 70 degrees F during the day, keeping in mind that the area around a drafty window can be quite a bit cooler than the rest of the room. If your plant’s leaves are touching a cold window, they may drop off. At night, poinsettias like a slightly lower temperature (55 – 60 degrees F), but avoid drastic drops in temperatures.

Hydrated and Humid: Make sure to water the poinsettia whenever the surface of the soil feels dry. Give the plant a good watering, but don’t flood or soak it.  Gravel in the bottom of the pot will help keep the roots dry. If your home is dry during the winter months, a humidifier or plant mister can help your plant stay hydrated.

Prevent Leaf Loss: If your plant starts to lose leaves, there are a few likely culprits: is the plant resting against a cold window or near a draft? Is it too warm or dry in the room? Is the plant thirsty?

With correct care, poinsettias can be encouraged to re-bloom next holiday, but it’s a touchy and time-consuming process that not all poinsettia fans are prepared for. Choosing the right poinsettia for a long-term commitment and carefully maintaining it after Christmas is over can help.

Blessings and love along the way,

Ron

Starlight

Sunset rays through a tree near the national Christmas tree in Washington, D.C.

Is there ever a time when light doesn’t overcome darkness?  I know some would debate this.  However, this was my thought after looking at the photo from one of our grandchildren during our recent visit to Washington, D.C. 

Each state within the U.S.A. was represented by an array of trees decorated in unique designs. Atop one tree is a star illuminated with the sun, practically not noticed through the camera’s eye.

As I ponder this image, I think light shining so bright.

The one who is Light of the world has indeed come, whether we accept it or not.

The one who loves unconditionally lives today, not contingent on our belief. 

How far does the light reflect shining from afar?

It permeates the universe – down to the micro abode.

Some light provides singleness of color, lighting the ornaments scattered around.

While some lights provide color – like in a tree – for those who behold.

The Light that came into the world still shines as bright,

Unless we cover it to diminish its way.

May we accept the light that shines today,

And not hide it under a basket, nor suppress its glow.

But let His Light shine throughout our being,

By simply accepting the gift of Light and Life within. 

The Lord is my light and my salvation, whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life, of whom shall I be afraid? (Psalm 27:1 NIV)

When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”  (John 8:12 NIV)

Let the Light of Christmas and this special holiday carry over in our lives as we reflect true Light and Love to others about us. 

Blessings and love along the way,

Ron