I was happy to have been summoned to a meeting at the headquarters of the American Society of Landscape Architects in Washington D.C. last week. I arranged my travel plans to arrive early enough in the day to do some sketching, and happily the weather cooperated. I walked from my downtown hotel to the National Mall, and as always was amazed by the overwhelming scale of the place. Moving along with strolling tourists from all over the world, I came upon this vantage point from which a magnificent sculpture and the Capitol building are beautifully juxtaposed.
As I sketched the Capitol, I thought about how the brilliant ideas and institutions that the building represents tower above the often messy and divisive political theater that unfolds there. At their best, our great public buildings, here and across the world, stand as a statement of faith in our future, and in our ability to transcend short term difficulties and disagreement in the service of larger commitment to human dignity and "the better angels of our nature." I felt inspired, and continued my walk with a little more spring in my step.