I must write of an experience that has changed my life. While I have always been impressed with Thomas Jefferson, somehow it was in visiting his home that I came to really appeciate the man. While in nearly every sentiment I feel and agree with his writings and thinking, it was in him home I felt our kinship even more closely.
What an amazing man. What an amazing intellect. A man who said he could not live without books. He also swore that on the altar of God he would do everything to tear down the ignorance of man, in every form and ramification. A man who all his life sought to learn greater light and truth. He lived it, which was obviously manifest in his home. The design of the home to the artifacts found within. What a wonderful occasion.
In visiting the home on Saturday, I was impressed with how well it has withstood the elements. In visiting Mt. Vernon, it was a sad relic compared to Monticello. Washington’s home was obviously given to him, but the poor thing looks like the foundations and frame have not held up. That could be partially upkeep over the years, but Monticello’s past seem to be more uncared for than Mt. Vernon. It was simply astounding and beautiful. The use of space, the architecture, the simplicity yet elegance. It was a treat. I am ready to move in tomorrow.
In younger years I drew all these house plans that I would someday build. As I read books and refined my plan over the years, it was in 5th grade I really completed what the home I wanted some day would look like. I did not think it could be bested. I thought it used the space the best, put on an impression of grandeur while being small, and was very good at accomodating the library and other things I wanted to have later in life. Come to find out, my home is very much like Monticello’s design except mine had the wings at an angle. Over the years I have added a few things. Like after reading about Anson Call having a prayer room that was a floor up and would provide solitude, I provided the same in my design. I wanted a meditation/prayer room as well. Monticello has something of this sort. While I could not visit it personally, I knew of its design and presence. (Take a 3-d tour of the house at www.monticello.org) That room for me would be one of study and prayer. One of silence and only reverence for the heavens and learning. His use of basement space and storage is great. I loved how he made it so openly accessible to the outside, yet it is still the basement. While I obviously don’t plan on having slaves (I guess children could be…) Another thing I always did not like is what I perceived as a waste of space dealing with staircases. Jefferson addresses it perfectly and I was very impressed with the smallness of halls and stairs. As a side note, beds and such are not a problem as the windows and design is such to allow those to come in from the outside rather than hallways. I always had such a problem with the waste of space and what big furnature does, especially beds. While I knew Jefferson incorporated them into walls, I did not think that was very feasible. I stand corrected. I love and appreciate his design and hope to incorporate it into the home I would someday like to build. What a genius.
Charlottesville town center was beautiful and quaint. The surrounding countryside was very beautiful and the estates expansive. It was very heartwarming to be and appreciate the territory surrounding. I loved every part of it. Charlottesville is not necessarily laid out the best from its inception, but it works.
I also took the time to pay a visit to the University of Virginia Campus. I found it to be beautiful. While it does stretch and cover quite a bit of ground, I did not visit the main campus. I went mostly up and around the Law School. I walked through the entire school and liked the design and feel. Walking out the front doors and looking over the lawn was breathtaking. I felt it was a good place and desired to go to school here.
Gavin and I very much enjoyed our trip to Charlottesville. While we discussed a wide variety of subjects on the trip, a thing that struck me was passing the Fredericksburg Battlefield, and driving through the Chauncellorsville and Wilderness Battlefields of the Civil War. We even stopped at the Visitors Center and visited the spot where Stonewall Jackson was fatally wounded. It was sobering to know that this country and so many soldiers fought on this ground, died here. While I am not a Civil War history buff, I know some of the overall outline. It was interesting to me. Somehow deeply saddening that people are so prideful and unwilling to compromise and work out alternate conclusions. It is also fascinating to see how much Virginia reveres Robert E Lee and Stonewall Jackson, despite their fighting a losing battle.
Anyhow, it was an amazing weekend. A great excursion out through some of the expanse of Virginia.