the house on top of the hill

Today was my first day of orientation -- I am volunteering for school -- at Arlington House, the home of Robert E. Lee.  It is, as you would expect, in the middle of Arlington National Cemetery -- at the top of the hill, in fact.   I'd never been to Arlington before (house or cemetery) so it was an experience.  I hiked all the way to the top (well, stairs) and it was a sobering experience -- of course the path winds through the different sections of graves, and you can't help but read them as you go along.  Titles... names... wars... they all begin to blend together, and in a sobering way.  

The view from the top is utterly indescribable -- a view across the Potomac, and able to see most of the monuments as well as most of downtown.  As today was a clear day, you could see everything.  That being said, this view through faux marble/sandstone pillars also includes the Kennedy eternal flame, and a flag that is almost perennially at half mast -- or at least whenever burials are happening, which, as you can imagine, is quite a bit.  It checks you.   I'm not sure why.  I'm not sure if it had anything to do with the fact that it has taken me 2 1/2 years to make it to Arlington.   The fact that, even though I was there, I still could not bring myself to find graves of astronauts that I admired.   

I loved the house.  Everyone there is wonderful, and they gave me a behind-the-scenes tour, but I walk out and there is the cemetery.  I suppose it just makes you think, but the real point is I left thinking.  Quiet.  Thinking... and that's I think the most coherent I'll ever be about this, so with that: Fin.

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