Friday, April 06, 2007

Carlton's log, DC, National Cathedral

Some images from the National Cathedral in the Chevy Chase neighborhood. It's stunning. Gothic in architecture, it took 75 years to complete and was actually just completed during George (the first) Bush's presidency.

The grounds are as beautiful to me as the structure. There are small buildings here and there that house libraries, small residences, and yes, gift shopS. (even inside the cathedral)

One of my favorite strolls is through the Bishop's Garden. There are arches and gazebos, small stone rooms for private repose, and benches set perfectly underneath large shady trees. There are birds and squirrels everywhere and the view is 360 of Washington D.C.

The outside of the building is full of gargoyles and flying buttresses, dripping with the black stain of years in the weather. The front facade of the entry has the Creation depicted in three panels. It captured my attention for quite sometime. I am always in awe of such artists who can capture fluid motion in stone. There are also statues of God, Adam, and John the Baptist among other Apostles.

Inside you are met at every angle with arched door ways and stained glass images. There are detailed carvings in every wall, floor and especially alters. The alters themselves can occupy hours of your curiosity. They have depicted stories of the gospels, apostles, and the life of Christ.

There are several private chapels for those who can afford the price for such luxuries. There is a small scaled chapel for children with a statue of the Christ as a child. There are also crypts tucked between the pews and the outer walls; also for those who can afford or for those who has accomplished much in the eyes of the church. Many Bishops, Priests, and also people such as Helen Keller are buried in the tombs. The basement continues with numerous crypts, private chapels, public chapels, a chapel specifically dedicated to silent prayer, and the most magnificent mosaics of Christ. Brilliant colours mixed with bright shiny gold and an abundance of turquoise. And of course, a book store and gift shop.

I was greeted by the gentlest of women in almost every area. They were friendly and informative, answering all my silly questions and offering me pamphlets and other information. In one area of a chapel I witnessed a man, on his hands and knees, meticulously scrubbing the marble at the base of the wall. He worked under heat and bright lights so that he would not miss anything. The room we were in was cool, very cool considering it was made of stone and deep within the building, yet this man on his knees sweat as though he were mowing a lawn with a push mower in the middle of an August heat wave. Such dedication was inspiring.

All in all the experience was terrific and I find myself spending at least a couple of my D.C. hours there each time I am in town. I did have one ill encounter, an anti-"Mormon" who was imposing his sophomoric views on the small party he decided to high jack from the regular tour group. I listened to the Spirit and handled it in a way that was more positive than negative, and that assured this certain man would no longer be commandeering bus groups for his own amusement.

My enjoyment of this space in our nation's capital city is always peaceful and sweet. For anyone reading this post I can recommend the National Cathedral as a place to visit if you tire of all the politics and hustle-bustle that is down in the business district that is D.C.

add to sk*rt


chronicler said...

One place we didn't go. I'll put it on the list fo rthe next time. Your pictures aare definitely inviting.

I loved your last comment about calculaus at sarah's! :-D

s'mee said...

I love the creation facades...really lovely. Sooo much to see architecturally.

thanks, you know me...anything to help out with math.