THROUGH MY LENS: lion on the hill

A lion relaxes beneath the Ulysses S. Grant Memorial, National Mall, Washington D.C.

My thoughts are turning to Washington today with the coming Inauguration. I first went when I was in grade school, on two class trips to tour our nation’s capitol city. I didn’t remember a whole lot about it, except for the huge statue at the Lincoln Memorial, which made quite an impression at the time.

Then I traveled to D.C. again a few years ago. I went back to the National Mall and this time found myself fascinated by the statues in front of the Capitol Building. I spent a lot of time photographing them from different angles. They were all the beautiful blue-green of weathered bronze, and the afternoon light created wonderful highlights and shadows on their forms.

I particularly liked the lion above, one of two lying at the foot of the Ulysses S. Grant Memorial. His relaxed, contented expression, face turned up toward the sky, made him appear relaxed and not at all fierce. Not at all like a lion created to guard the steps of one of the country’s most important buildings. He seemed a lion born in a time of peace, meant to enjoy his time in the sun.

I am thinking about the lion again today, what he’ll be watching over in the next few days, and even further ahead to the future. If troubled times come, will he be able to keep his face turned toward the sun, the blue sky? And more importantly, will I?