June 25, 2013

And when the sun shines brightly, tend flowers that God has given....

Good morning!  I think I've taken a long enough detour on my road trip, don't you agree?  We were touring Monticello in Virginia when all of a sudden we veered north, all the way up to Door County, Wisconsin--at this rate it will take me all summer to share my two week vacation with you! So let's leave the land of glittering night skies and cherry orchards and head all the way back down to Charlottesville, Virginia, shall we? 

We had finished touring the first floor of Monticello.  The second floor is comprised of the family bedrooms, which were surprisingly small for a man of Jefferson's stature.  There are no closets---houses back in those days were taxed by the number of rooms, and a closet counted as a room, hence nails on the wall for hanging up clothes instead!  There is a unique room at the top, one of the architectural treasures of the home, Jefferson's dome room.  Jefferson admired Roman architecture, and the dome at Monticello is modeled after the Temple of Vesta in Rome. The major difference between the two is that the Temple of Vesta is round and Monticello's dome is an elongated octagon. The dome is unique in several ways. The round windows at the back of the dome room are raised higher than those at the sides and front of the dome. They are also half clear glass and half mirrored. The lower half needed to be mirrored due to the location of the windows cutting into the slope of the main house roof. This is also the reason why the windows are raised higher than the other windows. The walls of the dome room are a lovely shade of bright yellow and the floor is grass green.
Exterior with dome

Dome interior--the yellow walls are really vibrant

Views from the windows
Armillary at the side of the house:
One of my favorite views--looking towards the fish pond (at the left by the large tree)

Looking down Mulberry Row:

Here is a poem by Robert Frost that I recently came across and seems fitting after our stroll in Jefferson's gardens:

God's Garden

God made a beatous garden
With lovely flowers strown,
But one straight, narrow pathway
That was not overgrown.
And to this beauteous garden
He brought mankind to live,
And said: "To you, my children,
These lovely flowers I give.
Prune ye my vines and fig trees,
With care my flowerets tend,
But keep the pathway open
Your home is at the end."

Then came another master,
Who did not love mankind,
And planted on the pathway
Gold flowers for them to find.
And mankind saw the bright flowers,
That, glitt'ring in the sun,
Quite hid the thorns of av'rice
That poison blood and bone;
And far off many wandered,
And when life's night came on,
They still were seeking gold flowers,
Lost, helpless and alone.

O, cease to heed the glamour
That blinds your foolish eyes,
Look upward to the glitter
Of stars in God's clear skies.
Their ways are pure and harmless
And will not lead astray,
Bid aid your erring footsteps
To keep the narrow way.
And when the sun shines brightly
Tend flowers that God has given
And keep the pathway open
That leads you on to heaven.

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