Finding Ground.

I’m grounded by history.

I’ve been reminded of this many times over the past few weeks as I discover Washington, DC. Passing signs to my father’s old high school, waving to my great-grandmother in Arlington Cemetery (she has a great view of the Pentagon, where her husband worked), hearing stories about my grandfather’s grandparents farm (now a park), hearing about how my grandfather would walk their pony to Tyson’s Corner to be reshod as there was a blacksmith there.

Lately the photo above has been a touchstone. When I was a kid, my grandmother used to tell me about how we were related to the sculptor Daniel Chester French. This photo reminds me of big dreams and creativity and a smidge of hope that it will all look as magical as conceived once fully constructed. I still haven’t found the building that housed the bakery my grandfather’s grandmother owned, but my grandmother has a map.

There’s something about knowing all of this that allows me to sink into the city more, wondering about how our genes and journeys will mix as I wander around eying old buildings and time-tested construction. After moving so often and taking so many trips far and wide, it’s nice to find a spot of ground that feels firm and real and solid under my feet. In thinking about the hopes and dreams and fears and loves and first crushes in my family’s lives as they strolled along these streets to the market, to work, to the doctor, to school, a sense of magic surrounds me. It may seem silly or impossible or mawkish to some, but after feeling so temporary and transient, here, for a moment, this sense of being grounded comforts me deep and true and completely.

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And for some crafty and otherwise creative links:
*Textile Encyclopedia*How to hem jeans in 3 easy steps
*The Newly Redesigned Mr. Xstitch! (Great job, Jamie!)
*Guide to Reading Japanese Crochet & Knitting Patterns
*Find where your clothes come from with the Baacode
*The Art of Manliness (Ok, not so crafty as interesting)
*Copenhagen Cyclic Chic (see how to bike in high heels)
*National Museum of African Art archives
*Make softies? How about making a few for Softies for Mirabel
*Awista Ayub’s However Tall the Mountain (what happens when young Afghan girls learn about soccer… and more)

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2 Responses to Finding Ground.

  1. Lila September 10, 2009 at 7:49 am #

    Coming from a long line of Washingtonians, I totally get this. Even though we moved to the exurbs when I was little, DC is still my city. Every time I visit my family, when we go through a certain part of Capitol Hill, my mom tells me about my great-great-great (I think it’s 3 greats…) grandmother who had a farm (!) there. When we pass Georgetown Hospital, she tells me how I and my two siblings were born there, and how my grandfather and his father and mother (a nurse…I come from a family that has always valued education for both sexes. When we pass her high school (Georgetown Visitation), she talks about the time she broke her best friend’s ankle in field hockey, and when we pass her grandma’s house, she talks about visiting her grandparents and the maiden aunts who lived with them. My grandmother recently passed away, and my mom and her siblings just sold her house. I spent half my childhood in that house (my mom was working), and it broke my heart to see it go. So I guess it’s not big surprise that, although I went to school in Ohio, I met a fellow Washingtonian and we have been dating for 6 years. I found out after we started dating that we had gone to the same pediatrician’s office as kids. Yeah. DC’s a small town in many ways, and it’s awfully easy to snuggle into it’s history and your family’s.

  2. Mr X Stitch September 12, 2009 at 7:18 pm #

    Thanks! :)

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