Monday, February 15, 2010
Taft, Underground Railroad, snow
I am back - at least back writing - after a hiatus that included not eating well, not getting to the gym, not making 10,000 steps.
The good news is that many of those days were spent in Cincinnati with Tricia. We met on Friday. Saturday we went to the William Howard Taft National Historic Site. That is not one of the national parks that had been on my "must-do" list, but it is here and it is one more off the list. My passport stamp total is now 96. It will be interesting to see what is the stamp 100. I have been to more parks than those for which I have stamps having visited a number before I started using the passport. Some of the larger parks also have more than one stamp so the park count is not the same as the passport stamp count. Taft appears to have been an interesting dude. Besides being the only person to serve as President and Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, he was also the first President to throw out the opening pitch at a baseball game.
We returned to the Homewood Suites (it's a really good place with nice folks so it gets a product placement) in Milford to watch Duke basketball. We followed that by going to see Avatar. Still processing that one. I have heard a great number of comparisons to the Pocahontas story. One parallel that occurred to me that I have not heard (which does not mean it has not been repeatedly made): as the clans gathered, I thought of the efforts of Tecumseh (Tecumtha) and Tenskwatawa to create a confederacy of the indigenous peoples in the early 1800s in what was then known as the Northwest Territory. An episode of the PBS series American Experience: We Shall Remain tells that story. I need to check it out.
Yesterday saw a trip to the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center. It is a haunting, wrenching, and painful experience. The human capacity for brutality and inhumanity - on an individual and corporate level is staggering. Even when one is aware of that capacity, it is staggering to see it revealed. At the same time, the stories told by the Center are affirming and inspiring. The human capacity to endure and persevere - the human capacity for courage and cooperation are even more impressive. What the people who were enslaved endured, touched me deeply. Processing this experience will continue for some time.
This morning we woke to damp streets - now two hours later those streets are snow-covered. Our decision to stay put and not try to get back to Cleveland and Louisville respectively makes sense. There is a fitness center here which I will soon visit.