missvirginia on Dec 13th 2009
may have belonged to…Walt Whitman. In my dreams. Not kidding either. I got home Friday afternoon and yesterday after having a Guitar Hero/Band Hero marathon with my friends, I drove back to my house in freezing rain and contemplated this class. I remembered that I hadn’t done a post on the field trip to DC which, ironically enough, touched me the most in this class.
Meeting under similar weather conditions to the one today (i.e. cold with rain), I was still super excited to see everything. Even though I am a native Virginian, it takes about four and a half hours to get to Washington, D.C. and thus, I have only explored the city (minus trips to Dulles, traveling through or past, etc) once on a field trip in 7th grade. Sad, I know. So, I was extremely excited and and the whole ride up I was chomping at the bit to finally get out of the car and race around D.C. acting like Mrs. Whitman (Sorry, Brendan ;] ). I think pictures captured my favorite moment…you know, when I started tearing up and had to fight back a break down when his haversack was revealed to us. Even his hair or glasses didn’t have the same effect on my emotions as that old, crumbly leather bag. That bag saw things we can’t even imagine, it sat on the ground, on the ferry, on the wooden boards of hospitals. Who knows the kinds of dangerous, gangrenous bacteria that lived on it because of the hospital trips. Could that bag be the a main reason Whitman’s health declined so much? Would Whitman touch the bag, then touch his eyes, nose, or mouth with the same hand and, in that infinitesimal moment, compromise his wellbeing and health? It fascinates me to think “if only that bag could talk”. I wanted to hug and kiss our Library of Congress guide (her name has left me, I’m sad to say-Laurie Ann?) and just thank her for appreciating our enthusiasm and understanding our rabid adoration for this man who some Americans don’t even know about.
Flash forward ([shoutout] to a really great show!) to last night and my contemplation must have stirred something in Whitman. I had a dream where I sat with Whitman (in his last days, think the photo of him with his caretaker in a shipyard, I think it was) and we talked. I held his hand and told him that he left an imprint on my heart a hundred and half years from when he walked the earth. He told me it was simply coincidence that it all happened. He wanted something great to happen and feels like he achieved it with my experience. I don’t remember much more from that magical dream, but when I woke up I couldn’t believe it. I told my mom and she just frowned and said, “Oh, that’s weird…and kind of creepy,” while paying bills or something. I know no one else will appreciate this except for the people who traveled this Whitmanian journey with me. So there ’tis…I hope I meet him again in dreamland, maybe he’ll tell me he’s choosing Brendan over me, and if he does, I’ll just have to smile and hold his hand.